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Celebrating 25 Years of Grand Island National Recreation Area

Posted by Leah Anderson, Eastern Region, U.S. Forest Service in Forestry
Aug 07, 2015
Grand Island National Recreation Area sign
The iconic Forest Service welcome sign invites visitors to come explore and have loads of fun in a beautiful, rustic maritime setting. (USDA photo by Robert Nichols)

With breathtaking views of Lake Superior, sandstone cliffs, pristine beaches and rich history, Michigan’s Grand Island National Recreation Area is definitely your gateway to “cross over to adventure!”

Surrounded on every side by rugged Great Lake waters, Grand Island has been managed by the Hiawatha National Forest since 1990.

That means that 2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of this lovely green jewel being transformed into a public land treasure.

Mark your calendar for Aug. 8 at 9 a.m. for a very special event – Grand Island Day - commemorating the Island’s silver anniversary. The celebration will feature free entrance and transportation to the Island, special tours and educational activities for every age group. And, overnight campers will be treated to a special night sky program, taking in the glittering starlight on Trout Bay.

Feeling inspired to make the trip to Michigan? Well, your adventure starts near Munising, Michigan, where you board a ferry that will transport you to the wilds of Grand Island. As the ferry approaches the landing at Grand Island, you’ll glimpse the historic homes and begin to sense the allure that has drawn humans to this island for thousands of years. While taking in the magnificent view, be sure to look toward Murray Bay, where Lake Superior’s clear water covers one of several shipwrecks that lie scattered under the waters around the Island!

Once you set foot on Williams Landing, you are already transported to another place and time with a view of the historic Visitor Contact Station, which used to be a shed for the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co., and a warming station for the tug captain.

During your stay, try out a plethora of fun recreational activities; including:

Camping: Find respite amid a forest of old-growth trees in a rustic cabin discreetly located near Mather Beach that is within walking distance of Lake Superior. Or set up your tent in one of 17 designated single campsites throughout the Island; two campsites for groups are also available.

Hiking & Biking: The Island boasts 30 miles of scenic hiking and mountain biking trails. Beginners might prefer a shorter excursion to Murray Bay Beach or the mile-long Trout Bay Beach. If you are looking for more of a challenge, take a mountain bike tour of the north end, where you will cross the new North Light Creek Bridge, while passing between picturesque overlooks.

The Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse
The Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse (southern shore of Lake Superior) was completed in 1870. (USDA photo by Robert Nichols)
Category/Topic: Forestry