Outdoor Weekend Oct. 7 and 8
The Michigan Nature Association and the Western
U.P. Center for Math, Science and Environmental Education
are hosting a family outdoor weekend from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday
and Sunday, Oct. 7 and 8.
For more information on the Family Outdoor Weekend in the Keweenaw,
contact Joan Chadde at 487-3341. No registration is needed for this
Families are invited to visit four of the 18 Michigan Nature Association
nature sanctuaries on the Keweenaw Peninsula: Estivant Pines, Redwyn’s
Dunes, Gratiot Lake and Keweenaw Shore. These sanctuaries are easy
to find and have well-marked, kid-friendly trails with interesting
geology and unique natural environments to explore. The sanctuaries
also offer a great way for families to enjoy the beauty of the Copper
Country. The nature sanctuaries are open year-round for non-motorized
recreation and public enjoyment.
As a special bonus for family weekend, outdoor science activities
will be conducted by Michigan Tech students along the trail at each
sanctuary. The experiments include "In Search of Wildlife,"
"Making Wildlife Track Casts," "Plant Identification,"
"Find the Biggest White Pine" and "What Rock Is This?"
The stewards at each sanctuary will be at the trailhead to greet
visitors and provide trail maps. To encourage families to visit
more than one nature sanctuary, children will be able to submit
their name to a nature prize drawing to be conducted Sunday afternoon
at each site. Meaning the more you hike, the better your chances
Below are the directions and descriptions of each of the nature
Redwyn’s Dunes Nature Sanctuary
Directions: Follow M-26 about 3.5 miles north of Eagle River or
4 miles south of Eagle Harbor. The sanctuary is across from Great
Sand Bay and has a large sign marking the entrance.
Redwyn’s Dunes offers a pleasant hike as it loops along the
shore of several dune ponds. These catch basins fill in the spring
and are home to many breeding frogs and toads. In spring and fall,
these basins make a favorite over-night stop for migrating geese
and other water fowl. The new one-mile loop trail starts and ends
on the east side of the road, across the highway from Lake Superior.
Keweenaw Shore Nature Sanctuary
Directions: Follow M-26 six miles north of Eagle Harbor, past Brockway
Mountain Drive, and park at the Esrey Park picnic area. The walking
trail begins on the south side of M-26, across from Esrey Park.
The Esrey Park picnic area offers visitors a pleasant place to stop,
eat lunch or enjoy a Lake Superior sunset.
Keweenaw Shore offers one of the most interesting short trails
in the Keweenaw. The 1.5 mile roundtrip trail traverses the backbone
of the Keweenaw, climbing up and over a ridge to Brockway Mountain
Drive. Hikers return to the trailhead by retracing their steps.
This sanctuary is ideal for families and offers a worthwhile educational
hike for students.
Gratiot Lake Nature Sanctuary
Directions: Follow US-41 north to the sign for Mount Gratiot and
Gratiot Lake. Turn right. When you reach the bottom of the hill,
turn left and drive a 1/2 mile along the lake to the DNR boat access
site on the lake. Park here and cross the road to begin your hike.
The 1.5-mile roundtrip trail climbs nearly 400 feet through maple
hardwood forest to the top of a bluff overlooking Gratiot Lake.
This sanctuary offers the hiker a spectacular view of the surrounding
landscape, which is especially striking in the fall. A beautiful
cascading waterfall is hidden not far off the trail within this
Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary
Directions: From Houghton-Hancock, follow US-41 or M-26, north to
Copper Harbor. At the junction of US-41 and M-26, travel .2 miles
through the town of Copper Harbor to the community center and turn
right onto the road to Lake Manganese. Follow signs to Estivant
Estivant Pines boasts one of the largest tracts of old-growth white
pine east of the Mississippi River. Walk beneath 500-year-old pines
that tower more than 100 feet overhead and are three to five feet
in diameter. There is a choice of three loop trails over moderately-rugged
The Michigan Nature Association, established in 1952, is dedicated
to protecting examples of Michigan's unique natural habitats and
rare or endangered species. Due to many generous donations, the
MNA now has 170 nature sanctuaries statewide located in almost every
Michigan county, totaling more than 8500 acres. MNA’s nature
sanctuaries are open to the public for hiking, nature-viewing and
educational purposes. To learn more, visit http://www.michigannature.org
or call (517) 655-5655