Warren Dunes State Park
|Warren Dunes State Park|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
|Location||Lake Township / Bridgman, Berrien County, Michigan|
|Nearest city||Bridgman, Michigan|
|Area||1,952 acres (7.9 km²)|
|Governing body||Michigan Department of Natural Resources|
Warren Dunes State Park is a 1,952-acre (7.90 km2) Michigan state park, located along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan in Berrien County. The park's large sand dunes and lakeshore beaches make it one of the most popular of Michigan’s state parks with an average of about one million visitors annually.
Large sand dunes are found throughout the park. Among the park's dunes are Mt. Fuller, Pikes Peak, and Mt. Edwards, with the most significant being Tower Hill, the highest point in the park, which stands 240 feet (73 meters) above the Lake Michigan. This dune is the one that is most visible to visitors, many of whom delight in scrambling up its slopes and rushing back down again. Easy access to the dunes make it a popular location to practice the sport of sandboarding.
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.
Facilities and activities
- Hiking: The park has six miles of winding trails.
- Cross-country skiing
- Beach House
- Picnic Area
- Picnic Shelter
- Metal Detecting: Metal detecting is permitted in designated areas of the park; however, any found items are subject to review by park staff and may be retained pending further investigation.
- Hunting: Most of the park north of the beach area is open to hunting for part of the year.
- Wildlife watching
- Skygazing: Clear skies allow viewing of more stars than in most populated areas.
- Clay painting: Walking about a mile up the creek which empties into the lake just south of the beach leads to large beds of light gray clay, through which the creek flows. Mixed with the creek water, clay makes body/face paint which can be worn home, but is much more commonly washed off by another swim in the lake. Clay painting has a negative effect on the park environment due to the amount of clay that is introduced to the creek water through man-made erosion and dispersion. Clay particles in the water create a turbid water environment. Turbid water can also have negative health effects if ingested; the higher the turbidity level, the higher the risk that people may develop gastrointestinal diseases. These health hazards are of particular concern given the number of small children and infants who play in the creek at the lake shore.
- Creativity: This park is big and often not crowded, so a great testing ground for beach activities and equipment. For example, it was the inspiration and development site for the Beach Buggy, a self-contained mini-kitchen which could be wheeled to a family's water-side picnic site.
- Previous ownership of Tower Dune and surroundings by J.S. Pardee in the late 1800s
- Village of Sawyer History Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce
- Warren Dunes State Park Michigan Department of Natural Resources
- Warren Dunes State Park Metal Detecting Map Michigan DNR
- Warren Dunes State Park Protected Planet (World Database on Protected Areas)
- Warren Dunes Area Photographs at pbase.com
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