Dark Skies at Rockport Recreation Area by SG Captures
Michigan State Parks, Trails and Waterways shared this photo from the Rockport State Recreation Area, asking: What are you doing to do to celebrate #InternationalDarkSkyWeek?
Michigan is lucky to have designated areas that host spectacular nighttime viewing. Dark sky parks and preserves have a limited amount of artificial light, making it easier to stargaze in those locations. Dark sky preserves are designated by Michigan legislature and dark sky parks are designated by the International Dark Sky Association. The six state parks that have dark sky preserves are:
In addition to these dark sky preserves, there are two dark sky parks in Michigan:
And if that’s not enough, there is also plenty of excellent night-sky viewing opportunities across more than 15,000 square miles in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For more details, visit Michigan.gov/DarkSky.
Sarah is a Michigan State Parks Photo Ambassador, and you should definitely check out her website where you can view & purchase her work as well as her Facebook & sg.captures on Instagram!
Sandstone Creek Ravine by Joel Dinda
If you’re like me & love to hike, the two weeks of deer season put a little damper on your outdoor fun. Years ago, I proposed December 1st be designated a holiday so a very happy “Back into the Woods Day” to you all!
Joel took this photo at Fitzgerald Park in Grand Ledge back in 2012, and since you can see more in his Into the Woods gallery, it’s clear he deserves a lot of the holiday naming credit!
Reflections by Ayman Haykal
The Seney National Wildlife Refuge:
…was established in 1935 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The wild land that today is the refuge has not always appeared so wild. This is a land that was once heavily logged, burned, ditched, drained and cultivated. Despite repeated attempts, the soils and harsh conditions of this country would not provide a hospitable environment for sustained settlement and agriculture. So, nature claimed it once again. What was viewed as a loss by early 20th century entrepreneurs became a huge gain for the wildlife, natural resources and the people of Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge is located in the east-central portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, halfway between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. The 95,238 acre refuge encompasses the 25,150 acre Seney Wilderness Area, which contains the Strangmoor Bog National Natural Landmark.
Lots more information at the Seney Refuge website. Ayman took this back in early August. See more on his Flickr!
Warren Dunes, photo by Mark Swanson
Warren Dunes State Park has three miles of shoreline and six miles of hiking trails on nearly 2000 acres. It is open year-round, and the centerpiece is the dune formation that rises 260 feet above the lake and offers spectacular views. It’s also our busiest state park!
View Mark’s photo bigger and see more in his Michigan – Black & White slideshow.
More about Edward K Warren & Warren Dunes on Michigan in Pictures.
Rockport State Recreation Area – I, Alpena, MI, September, 2016, photo by Norm Powell
The Alpena CVB’s page on Rockport State Recreation Area says:
Rockport State Park, Michigan’s 100th State Park and an official Dark Sky Preserve, has over 4,237 acres of land located on the shores of Lake Huron north of Alpena. The property includes a deep-water protected harbor, an old limestone quarry of approximately 300 acres, a unique series of sinkholes, Devonian Era fossils, the Besser Natural Area, and a broad range of land types, vegetative cover, cultural resources and recreation opportunities. At the harbor the DNR has a boat launch facility, and there is a small park with picnic areas.
If you click through, they have a nifty guide that includes more information on the offerings including the fossils and sinkholes! You can get a map and more info from the State of Michigan’s page on Rockport Recreation Area.
View Norm’s photo bigger, see more in his slideshow, and view and purchase his photos on his website.
Many more Michigan parks on Michigan in Pictures!
The Last Stand, photo by Jacqueline Verdun
Huron-Clinton Metroparks explains that Kensington Metropark – a place I used to visit with my grandmother a lot – is one of the most popular parks in Michigan:
Kensington’s 4,481 sprawling acres of wooded, hilly terrain surrounds beautiful Kent Lake, and is home to an abundance of wildlife and waterfowl. Kensington Metropark offers a multitude of recreational activities throughout the year, from biking and boating to cross-country skiing and tobogganing. In addition to striking sunrises and sunsets, 1,200-acre Kent Lake offers plenty of fun activities: swim at Martindale or Maple beaches, get soaked at the Splash ‘n’ Blast, or just spend the day fishing, boating or picnicking along the water. Take a tour of the lake aboard the Island Queen II in the summer and fall. Or, enjoy a winter day ice-fishing or skating on frozen lake waters.
This first-class recreational area also features an 18-hole regulation golf course, 27-hole disc course, nature center, farm center, beautiful picnic areas and scenic hiking and biking trails for hours of enjoyment. With two and a half million visitors every year Kensington Metropark is a favorite place to enjoy Michigan’s natural treasures.
More info, activities, and a map on their website.
View Jacqueline’s photo bigger, see more in her My Best Landscapes slideshow, and also check out her website for more photos.
More Michigan parks and more sunsets on Michigan in Pictures.
Beaver Basin Wilderness, photo by Michigan Nut Photography
The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore says that the 11,740 acre Beaver Basin Wilderness was created in 2009 and:
…includes 13 miles of stunning Lake Superior shoreline from Spray Falls on the west to Sevenmile Creek on the east. The wilderness is some 3.5 miles deep.
The Beaver Basin Wilderness offers opportunities for quiet, solitude, wilderness recreation, and spiritual renewal. Individual and small group recreation is available along 8.4 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail and 8.5 miles of connector trails as well as 6 backcountry campsites.
The area includes three beautifully clear lakes: Beaver Lake – 762 acres, Trappers Lake – 45 acres, Legion Lake – 35 acres and five cold water streams: Lowney Creek, Arsenault Creek, Sevenmile Creek, Little Beaver Creek, and Beaver Creek.
Click through for more including a map.
John writes that this is one of the exotic places you can go without a passport. Gotta love that about Michigan!! View the photo bigger, follow him on Facebook, and purchase it and other shots from one of Michigan’s coolest places in the Pictured Rocks gallery on his website. There’s a couple other photos of this feature including one from the cliffs above.
Here’s a video John took nearby too…
The Port Crescent Smokestack, photo by Joel Dinda
One of the blogs I enjoy reading is ThumbWind, a blog about (you guessed it) Michigan’s Thumb. In A Ghost Town in the Thumb they tell the story of the town of Port Crescent that was within what is now Port Crescent State Park:
Walter Hume established a trading post and hotel near the mouth of the Pinnebog River in 1844. From these humble beginnings the area took the name of Pinnebog, taking its name from the river of which it was located. However, a post office established some five miles upstream also took its name from the river. To avoid confusion the town changed its name to Port Crescent for the crescent-shaped harbor along which it was built.
Port Crescent had two steam-powered sawmills, two salt plants, a cooperage whichPort Cresent manufactured barrels for shipping fish and salt, a gristmill, a wagon factory, a boot and shoe factory, a pump factory, a brewery, several stores, two hotels, two blacksmith shops, a post office, a depot and telegraph office, and a roller rink. Pinnebog employed hundreds of area residents. Others worked at blockhouses where they extracted brine from evaporated water to produce salt. At one time a this 17 block village boasted of a population of more than 500.
Read on for more and click for more about Port Crescent State Park.
View Joel’s photo background big and see more in his Port Crescent Vacation slideshow.
Three Wolves, photo by Vucetich & Peterson
With only a handful of wolves left in Isle Royale National Park, the National Park Service is currently taking public comment on the management of wolves at Isle Royale. They write:
The NPS began this planning process by considering a broad range of potential management actions as part of determining how to manage the moose and wolf populations for at least the next 20 years. However, based on the public comments we received and additional internal deliberations, the NPS has determined that it will revise and narrow the scope of this EIS to focus on the question of whether to bring wolves to Isle Royale National Park in the near term, and if so, how to do so.
Although wolves have not always been part of the Isle Royale ecosystem, they have been present for more than 65 years, and have played a key role in the ecosystem, affecting the moose population and other species during that time. The average wolf population on the island over the past 65 years has been about 22, but there have been as many as 50 wolves on the island and as few as three. Over the past five years the population has declined steeply, which has given rise to the need to determine whether the NPS should bring additional wolves to the island. There were three wolves documented on the island as of March 2015 and only two wolves have been confirmed as of February 2016. At this time, natural recovery of the population is unlikely.
The potential absence of wolves raises concerns about possible effects to Isle Royale’s current ecosystem, including effects to both the moose population and Isle Royale’s forest/vegetation communities. The revised purpose of the plan, therefore, is to determine whether and how to bring wolves to Isle Royale National Park to function as the apex predator in the near term within a changing and dynamic island ecosystem.
The photo above from the 2014-2015 Annual Report from the Vucetich & Peterson Ecological Studies of Wolves on Isle Royale shows three wolves observed at winter study 2015. More on their website at isleroyalewolf.org and definitely follow Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale on Facebook for updates!
More wolves on Michigan in Pictures.
Milky Way and Meteor above Fayette, photo by Lake Superior Photo
This week (April 4-10) is International Dark Sky Week. The State of Michigan has a list of 20 state parks that will be open late all week. One of the parks that will be open late is Fayette State Historic Park, located on the Garden Peninsula of Lake Michigan’s north shore:
Fayette Historic State Park blends nature and history with a Historic Townsite, a representation of a once-bustling industrial community. Visitors can learn about the town through guided tours and information from the Visitor Center, or simply by walking through the townsite and exploring on their own. Walk through restored buildings like the town hotel and a cabin, built to replicate the homes in which residents of Fayette used to live. Interpretive panels provide information to transport visitors back in time and tell the story of the town.
On the second Saturday of August, the park is transformed back to its glory days with period displays, food and music at the annual Heritage Day.
Shawn took this at Fayette a couple of years ago. See it bigger, view & purchase more dark sky pics in her Milky Way & Miscellaneous Night Sky gallery, and definitely follow Lake Superior Photo on Facebook!
More Michigan parks on Michigan in Pictures.