Lake St. Clair Metropark banding report - May 6-14, 2017 - Banding the first half of May had some challenges, and many rewards. The first day we planned to band, May 5, was rained out and on two days the park opene...
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1. Saugatuck Idyll
"Located on a channel of the Kalamazoo River with mountainous dunes and Lake Michigan a stone's throw away, this quaint hideaway has been luring visitors to its small-town charms for more than 100 years."
2. Blueberry Bash
"I was surprised to discover that Michigan boasts the largest area of blueberry cultivation in the world, with an annual yield of nearly 55 million pounds."
National Blueberry Festival
3. Steaming across the Great Lakes
"At the height of the Great Lakes' cruising history, more than a half-dozen ferryboats regularly crossed Lake Michigan carrying passengers, cars, trucks, and freight between Michigan and Wisconsin."
4. Aboard a Fightin' Sub
5. Sleeping Bear Dunes
"The sprawling national preserve on the northwestern corner of Michigan's lower peninsula draws more than a million visitors to its sandy shores where mounds of migrating dunes extend more than two miles inland."
Sleeping Bear Dunes
1. Archeological Sites on the Galien River
"Several small seasonal encampments were excavated in the bluff overlooking extensive wetlands along the Galien River at New Buffalo. These Upper Mississippian sites were used in the spring for gathering American lotus tubers that were roasted in deep pits, for gathering raspberries in the summer, and for hunting deer in the autumn."
2. Warren Woods State Park
"An important virgin stand of various hardwood trees including several species that are typical of more southern areas in the Carolinian Biotic Province such as the shagbark hickory as well as a few giant red pines." Rare warblers during spring migration.
3. Warren Dunes State Park
"Lovely views of Lake Michigan from towering dunes as well as trails through wooded dune country."
4. Grand Mere State Park
"This is one of the finest bird-watching areas in the state."
5. The French in Southwest Michigan
The first European site in southwest Michigan was Fort Miami founded by LaSalle in 1679, near the mouth of the St Joseph River. Fort St Joseph was upriver near Niles.
6. Van Buren State Park
"Another lakeshore park, and it is bordered by wooded, stabilized sand dunes."
"In November 1891, a schooner called the Rockaway was carrying lumber from Ludington to Benton Harbor when it was lost in the Lake Michigan waters off South Haven."
8. Michigan Maritime Museum
South Haven at the Black River Bridge
"Exhibits relating to the maritime history of Michigan from Indian canoes to Great Lakes freighters." Archeologists from this museum excavated the wreck of the Rockaway.
9. Saugatuck Dunes State Park
"A difficult one-mile hike to the beach from the parking lot over wooded dunes cuts down the crowds."
10. Archeology on a "different" River
"The Kalamazoo River empties into Lake Michigan at Douglas and Saugatuck a few miles south of Holland. This river is unusual in comparison to other west Michigan rivers, the St. Joseph, the Grand, and the Muskegon. The Kalamazoo River, for most of its length, lacks the mature floodplains found along the other rivers, where each spring the waters overflow their banks, then recede so that a broad expanse of dry land is left where seed plants can grow. On the other hand, there are many broad a permanently wet swamps and marshes along the Kalamazoo." This lead to different uses in prehistoric and historic periods: Ottawa/Odawa would hunt along the Kalamazoo in winter. The Potawatami would use the same river at different times of year. Upper Mississippian sites from 1450-1550 show season use. Late Woodland people moved along the river year-round.
11. Historic Holland
"One of the centers of Dutch culture in southwestern Michigan."
1. Three Oaks Bicycle Museum Tour
Three Oaks-New Buffalo-Union Pier-Three Oaks loop
2. The Magical Mystery Tour
3. It's a Grrrreat Ride!: Battle Creek
loop centered on Battle Creek Linear Park
4. I got a ride in Kalamazoo: Kal-Haven Trail State Park
Kal-Haven Trail, then back on country roads
5. South Haven Side Ride
Kal-Haven Trail, then back on country roads
6. Gunning Down at Yankee Springs
Ride around Gun Lake
7. The Saugatuck Sashay
loop including Saugatuck, Douglas, & Fennville
8. Tulip City Tour: Holland
Loop north of Holland, starting at Holland St Park
9. The Coast Guard City Tour: Grand Haven
Loop south of Grand Haven
Map of Kent County Parks & Trails
The city's planning department has maps of the Grand Rapids trail system.
West Michigan Trails & Greenways Coalition
Biking Grand Rapids: See the city up close from mLive.