Wilderness State Park
|Wilderness State Park|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
|Location||Bliss Township, Emmet County, Michigan, USA|
|Nearest city||Mackinaw City, Michigan|
|Area||10,512 acres (4,254 ha)|
|Governing body||Michigan Department of Natural Resources|
Wilderness State Park is a 10,512-acre (4,254 ha) state park in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located in Emmet County in Northern Michigan. The nearest towns are Carp Lake, Michigan and Mackinaw City, Michigan. The state park is operated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). DNR has, as of 2006, approved a proposal that 4,492 acres (1,818 ha), more than 50% of the state park, be officially dedicated as a wilderness area.
One of the most prominent physical features of the park is Waugoshance Point, which juts westward into northern Lake Michigan. Beyond the tip of the point, Temperance Island and Waugoshance Island are also parts of the state park. Waugoshance Point and the adjacent islands were described, as of 2006, as containing approximately one-third of the remaining Great Lakes habitat suitable for nesting by the endangered piping plover.
Wilderness State Park contains populations of many animals that are part of the traditional image of the northern Great Lakes ecosystem, including American black bear, beaver, bobcats, mink, muskrats, and otter. There have been unconfirmed reports of wolves in the Waugoshance Point area; in 1997, a United States Coast Guard pilot sighted a pair of wolves on the point. Michigan's DNR will not officially confirm the presence of wolves in the Lower Peninsula.
Four separate Lake Michigan lighthouses, Gray's Reef Lighthouse, Skillagalee Island Lighthouse, Waugoshance Light, and White Shoal Light, warn shipping from the dangerous rocks and sandbars of Waugoshance Point.
Facilities and activities
- Swimming: The beach is mainly rocky with a low slope, except in the campground area where the beach is primarily sand with a sandy lake bottom.
- Hiking. Most of the state park is inaccessible by road. The state park contains 22.75 miles (36 km) of mapped trails, including a 5.5-mile-long (9 km) section of the North Country Trail.
- Mountain biking
- Cross-country skiing
- Boating: A launch gives vessels access to Big Stone Bay on Lake Michigan.
- Camping: Camping in the park is either in the 250-site campground with "modern" amenities or in one of nine cabins located along the shore and in the woods. Sturgeon Bay, Waugoshance, Station Point, Caps and Bigstone cabins are located along or near the lakesore on Waugoshance Point. The Nebo cabin is located about one mile back along a hiking/fire trail in a wooded area of the park. These cabins sleep as few as 4 or as many as 8 and are "rustic" with no running water (hand pumps at each cabin), no flush toilets and a wood stove to provide heat. The other 3 cabins are located near the Pines campground and can sleep up to 24 people each. All cabins are accessible by vehicle except during the Winter months they are accessible by cross country ski or snowmobile in the winter months.
- 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.
- DuFresne, Jim (2005). The Complete Guide to Michigan Sand Dunes. Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press. p. 150.
- Wilderness State Park Michigan Department of Natural Resources
- Wilderness State Park Natural Area Michigan DNR
- Wilderness State Park Metal Detecting Map Michigan DNR
- Wilderness State Park Photos and Discussion
- Wilderness State Park Protected Planet (World Database on Protected Areas)