Superior Sunset from Little Presque Isle

Superior Sunset

Superior Sunset, photo by Mark Stacey

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has nominated Little Presque Isle for dedication (explanation). It’s located on the Superior shore 7 miles north of Marquette and they explain that the Little Presque Isle tract:

…is often called the crown jewel of Lake Superior, with its beautiful sand beaches, rugged shoreline cliffs, heavily timbered forests, and unmatched public views. The proposed natural area occurs north and south of Little Presque Point, around the mouth of Harlow Creek. The area is a combination of a wooded dune and swale community and bedrock lakeshore and cliff. The wooded dunes and swales formed as post-glacial lake levels receded, depositing a series of low sandy beach ridges. Since then, the ridges have become forested with hemlock, red pine, white pine, cedar, and balsam fir, while the wet swales that developed between them are now either forested or open wetlands.

The rock comprising the area represents some of the oldest exposed formations of its kind. More than a mile of bedrock lakeshore and cliffs adorns Little Presque Isle, including sandstone cliffs that reach nearly 60 feet high toward the base of Sugar Loaf Mountain. One kind of bedrock, granitic, that occurs here is the least common bedrock type along the Great Lakes shoreline, with less than eight miles occurring in total. This is one of three areas where the public can see these 2.3 billion year old formations in Michigan.

The proposed wilderness area is a local landmark, which has significant historical value. The island was reportedly connected to the mainland sometime prior to the 1930s and was a landing place for early explorers and native inhabitants. Roughly 100 yards off the mainland, the island is accessible by wading hip deep water and offers and opportunity for solitude in a unique and scenic setting.

View Mark’s June 2012 photo from Little Presque Isle bigger and see more in his really cool Michigan’s Upper Peninsula slideshow.

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