Brilliant Blues at Clear Lake

Clear Lake Montmorency County Michigan by Laurent Fady

Clear Lake by Laurent Fady

How about those blues??!! The Michigan DNR says that Clear Lake State Park in Montmorency County is located within the Mackinaw State Forest and:

…is a quiet, secluded retreat offering a sandy beach and a shallow swimming area that is ideal for children. A metal detecting area is available. The park encompasses two-thirds of the Clear Lake’s shoreline. A trail spur offers Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) riders a direct connection to the Atlanta ORV route and the Michigan Cross Country Cycle Trail.

This State Forest is composed of the northern eight counties of the Lower Peninsula. The Atlanta area of this forest contains over 258,000 acres of state-owned public land. Most of the virgin timber was removed from the forest by the 1920s and has been replaced by second-growth forests managed by the DNR. Deer, elk, turkey and small game are plentiful in the Mackinaw State Forest …elk can be seen and heard throughout the area in the early morning and evening, especially during the spring and fall. Native elk disappeared from Michigan nearly 100 years ago, they were reintroduced in 1918 and have multiplied into a large herd.

Head over to the DNR for trail, camping & disc golf course information.

Laurent took this photo above Clear Lake the other day. Lots more pics in his Aerial Photos of Northern Michigan Gallery on Flickr.

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Heading down to the beach on Warren Dunes

Heading down to the beach - Warren Dunes by Mark Swanson

Heading down to the beach – Explore by Mark Swanson

Pure Michigan says that Warren Dunes State Park:

…provides 1,952 acres of recreational opportunities along the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan in southwestern Michigan. The rugged dune formation rises 260 feet above the lake and offers spectacular views and excellent for hang gliding. The park has three miles of shoreline, six miles of hiking trails and is open year-round. Pet-friendly shoreline.

Wikipedia adds that:

The dunes and beach area was preserved by a local businessman, Edward K. Warren, who originally purchased the site as a favor to a friend who had encountered significant financial difficulties. By 1930, the Warren Dunes area had been taken over as a state park

Head over to the Warren Dunes State Park website for trail maps, camping reservations & more.

Mark took this photo last weekend. See more in his June 2020 gallery.

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DNR Reopening Michigan Campgrounds & Harbors

When Hobbits ran Detroit by Andrew McFarlane

When Hobbits Ran Detroit by Andrew McFarlane

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced opening dates for campgrounds, harbors and other outdoor spaces as Michigan moves to Stage 4 of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Safe Start plan:

“We are excited to open up these resources to visitors again,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “We can identify with the passion and enthusiasm people have for these beautiful outdoor spaces, especially during the warmer months, and we’re working hard to make sure everything is ready.”

Official opening dates include:

  • Dispersed camping on state-managed lands – which allows for greater social distancing and does not involve shared restroom or shower facilities – resumed May 29.
  • Camping at the state’s more than 140 rustic state forest campgrounds and overnight stays in DNR-managed harbors resume Wednesday, June 10.
  • Camping, overnight lodging facilities, day-use shelters and sanitation stations (common place to dispose recreation vehicle wastewater) in state parks and recreation areas reopen Monday, June 22. Please note that a handful of campgrounds have extended closures due to construction that was delayed due to the COVID-19 stay-home order and associated spending restrictions.
  • Many park amenities, such as bathroom buildings, hand-washing stations, trash services, concessions, playgrounds and play equipment, viewing platforms, fishing piers, GaGa ball pits, designated dog areas, disc golf courses, radio-controlled flying fields, pump tracks, and picnic tables and shelters, are beginning to open in phases. As anticipated opening dates are finalized, they will be posted to the DNR COVID-19 response page.

You can see campgrounds & make reservations at MiDNRReservations.com or call 800-44PARKS.

I took this picture way back in 2008. More in my Leelanau gallery on Flickr.

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Sunset at the Cloud Factory

Sunset at the Cloud Factory by Charles Bonham

Sunset at the Cloud Factory by Charles Bonham

Charles took this photo on Friday evening at Midland’s Whiting Overlook Park. See more on his Flickr.

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The Wonderful Wizard of … West Michigan?

2019 Holland Michigan by Erik

2019 Holland Michigan by Erik

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written solely to pleasure the children of to-day. It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and heart-aches and nightmares are left out.”
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum, 1900

L. Frank Baum was born 144 years ago today, and this Sunday marks the 110th anniversary of the publication of his classic fairy tale, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Holland Sentinel’s excellent article L. Frank Baum and the Macatawa Goose Man: Celebrating the origins of “The Wizard of Oz” explores the author’s connection to West Michigan, saying in part:

He was named after his uncle, Lyman Spalding Baum, but never liked Lyman and always was known as Frank to family and friends. As an actor and playwright, he was Louis F. Baum. As a newspaper editor, L.F. Baum, and as the children’s book author most famously known for “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” he was known as L. Frank Baum. But to the folks in Macatawa, he was simply known as “The Goose Man.”

…In 1899, Baum published “Father Goose: His Book.” The collection of children’s poems exploded in popularity and provided Baum with wealth and prestige for the first time in his life, his great-grandson, Bob Baum, recalled.

The author used the profits from his book to rent a large, multi-story Victorian summer home nestled on the southern end of the Macatawa peninsula on Lake Michigan. The home, which he eventually purchased, came to be known as the Sign of the Goose, an ever-present reminder of the fame that came along with “Father Goose.”

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” supposedly was written in Chicago, but some of the forest scenes look just like the pathways that run through the dunes, the younger Baum said.

He assumes Macatawa was where part of the book had been worked on or written, as Baum might have found inspiration from the castle in Castle Park for the yellow brick road, some say, or even based some of the characters in the book on personalities he encountered in the small lakeshore community.

“Especially in the Oz stories, a lot of characters and situations that we may not recognize … he drew lots of inspiration from Macatawa for the book.”

According to an undated newspaper article detailing one reporter’s visit to the Sign of the Goose, Baum not only was popular and well-known among the adults in the area, but children were quite fond of him as he allowed them into his home to read fairy tales, which occupied one of the shelves of his large bookcase.

The Holland Oz Project launched last summer with the installation of this floral living mosaic book, a yellow brick road, and colorful landscaping in Centennial Park with bronze sculptures on the grounds of the Herrick Library across the street. A funding campaign to support the project uses personalized engraved yellow bricks for placement along the yellow brick road.

To learn more about the Oz Project, visit their website or call the Holland Area Visitors Bureau at 616.394.0000.

You can see more in Erik’s Holland 2019 gallery on Flickr.

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Michigan State Parks announce Covid-19 policy changes

Dune Climbers by Bill Dolak

Dune Climbers by Bill Dolak

The Michigan DNR has announced that although state parks and recreation areas remain open to provide residents with local opportunities to get outdoors, extensive travel should be minimal & effective social distancing is required so that unsafe conditions do not develop and state-managed lands can remain open.

“We are doing everything possible to protect the health and safety of visitors and staff at state parks and recreation areas,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “No matter how people are choosing to get outdoors, it is critical that everyone follows the social distancing guidelines. If they don’t, we will be forced to close public access to all state-managed lands.”

Closures and reduction in services include

Many park amenities have been closed in order to minimize the chance of people gathering in groups and/or maximize the environment for effective social distancing. Current closures include, but are not limited to, concessions, playgrounds and play equipment, viewing platforms, fishing piers, GaGa ball bits, volleyball and basketball courts, designated dog areas, disc golf courses, radio-controlled flying fields, pump tracks, and picnic tables and shelters.

All bathroom buildings and vault toilets will be closed in all state parks and recreation areas, including those at campgrounds, boating access sites, trailheads at state-designated trails, etc. People are encouraged to plan accordingly to avoid needing a restroom during a visit. Note: Over the next few days, vault toilets will be closing. Many locations, where available, will be transitioning to portable toilets that will be cleaned by local vendors.

There will be minimal trash service available. Visitors are encouraged to bring trash bags, if needed, to carry trash home and minimize litter.

No hand washing stations will be provided. Please carry hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes containing at least 60% alcohol, as well as trash bags to carry out used wipes.

Additionally, grooming of snowmobile trails (the season closes March 31) and grooming, brushing, grading and clearing of all nonmotorized trails and ORV trails are suspended until at least the end of the order. When out on any trail, be aware of surroundings, including the potential for washouts or debris. To report anything that could be a risk to other trail users, call 517-331-0111.

Follow the DNR’s COVID-19 response webpage for the latest closure information related to events, meetings and facilities, including campgrounds, harbors and other sites.

Bill took this photo last October at Van Buren State Park near South Haven. See many more incredible shots in his Drone the Sixth – DJI Phantom 4 Advanced album on Flickr!

See photos and read about many of Michigan’s state & national parks on Michigan in Pictures!

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New Wolves Released at Isle Royale

Little Hawk Island Sunset, photo by Carl TerHaar

mLive reports that a pair of new wolves have been released on Isle Royale in an effort to control a exploding moose population that threatens to overwhelm one of Michigan’s most unique ecosystems.

Late Wednesday, two gray wolves were taken from the Grand Portage Indian Reservation in Minnesota and taken aboard a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plane to the island.

The wolves, a 4-year-old female and a 5-year-old male, were taken to separate release sites, and well away from the island’s two remaining wolves.

“It did not take long for the female to leave the crate and begin exploring her new home on the island. The male left his crate after dark,” the NPS said in a release.

“Other wolves will join the two in the coming weeks.”

Up to 30 wolves are expected to be caught in Minnesota, Michigan’s U.P. and even Ontario, Canada as part of this relocation effort.

Click through for more and their awesome video of the release!

Carl took this in late September of 2009. View it background big and see more in his massive Isle Royale album.

PS: Get an idea of the sheer amazingness of Isle Royale with 350+ more photos from Isle Royale in the Absolute Michigan group on Flickr at the Isle Royale tag on Michigan in Pictures, and at the  Isle Royale National Park website!

#TBT Miners Castle Loses a Turret

Freezing, photo by Lars Jensen

Here’s a throwback Thursday post with an article originally published April 14, 2006 on Absolute Michigan…

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore reports that one of the two turrets on Miner’s Castle is no more:

On Thursday morning, April 13, 2006, the northeast turret of Miners Castle collapsed. One turret remains on Miners Castle, the best-known feature of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The collapse was reported via cell phone by fisherman in the area, according to chief ranger Larry Hach.Most of the rock fell north and into Lake Superior, and there were no injuries. The lower overlook platform near Miners Castle appears to be unaffected.

While the rockfall at Miners Castle on April 13 was startling, such events are not rare along the Pictured Rocks escarpment. At least five major falls have occurred over the past dozen years: 1) two different portions of Grand Portal Point, 2) the eastern side of Indian Head just east of Grand Portal Point, 3) Miners Falls just below the (now modified) viewing platform, and 4) beneath the lip of Munising Falls (along the former trail that went behind the cascade).

All the rockfalls involved the same rock unit, the Miners Castle Member of the Munising Formation. Rock units are named for places where they were first technically described. The Miners Castle Member consists of crumbly cross-bedded sandstone that is poorly cemented by secondary quartz, according to U.S. Geological Survey Research Ecologist Walter Loope.

More from Lars in his Michigan album.

Wearing o the Green (ice)

Icicles in cave – Grand Island Ice Curtains on Lake Superior, photo by Craig

Craig writes:

A little emerald green for St. Patrick’s Day!

Viewing this ice curtain from the inside at Grand Island near Munising Michigan, highlights the blue and teal hues that nature provides.

View the photo bigger and see more in Craig’s Grand Island Ice Curtains set.

The Facebook Thing…

Pictured Rocks by Tudor ap Mac

I wanted to make sure everyone was aware that I’m making periodic updates on the Michigan in Pictures Facebook.

View Tudor’s photo of the Petit Portal in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and a lot more including this stunning panorama in his Upper Peninsula album!