A Grand Escape

George Lindquist recalls when you could drive your car onto a barge and glide out to 13,500-acre Grand Island, situated about a half mile from Munising in Lake Superior. “We used to cruise all the back roads,” said the Munising native, who grew up with a passel of brothers exploring, hunting and fishing on this primitive forested land. 
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Grand Island Water and Rock Formation
Grand Island - Photography by Shawn Malone

George Lindquist recalls when you could drive your car onto a barge and glide out to 13,500-acre Grand Island, situated about a half mile from Munising in Lake Superior. “We used to cruise all the back roads,” said the Munising native, who grew up with a passel of brothers exploring, hunting and fishing on this primitive forested land. 

Lindquist recalls, too, the trucks that rumbled down these dirt roads when the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company — private owner of the island from 1900 to 1990 — began selectively logging it during the ’50s to develop into a resort and game preserve.

Today, colorfully historic Grand Island National Recreation Area is part of Hiawatha National Park and offers an array of rustic outdoor activities. Guided trips are available or you can explore on your own.

“You can do a lot of walking out there,” says Lindquist, who over the years has uncovered remnants of old logging camps. 

What You Will Find

• Spectacular 300-foot striated sandstone cliffs; 

• Echo Lake, a catch-and-release haven teeming with pike, bass and pan fish;

• More than 40 miles of mountain bike and hiking trails;

• Seventeen single first-come, first-serve rustic camp sites (group sites can be reserved, 906-387-2512);

• Pristine sandy beaches and protected coves ideal for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking;

• Cultural historical sites including a 19th-century cemetery;

• Fuji mountain bike rentals ($30 a day);

• Narrated bus tours (906 387-4845).

Journey to Grand Island via personal watercraft or by ferry, which departs from Grand Island Landing (906-387-3503). Learn more at grandislandmi.com.

— Cymbre Foster, Michigan BLUE Magazine – Photography by Shawn Malone

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