Mackinac National Park

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Arch Rock on Mackinac Island

Mackinac National Park was a U.S. national park that existed from 1875 to 1895 on Mackinac Island in northern Michigan making it the second National Park in the United States after Yellowstone National Park in the Rocky Mountains. The 1,044-acre (422 ha) park was created in response to the growing popularity of the island as a summer resort. Its creation was largely the result of efforts by United States Senator Thomas W. Ferry, a native of the island. Senate Bill 28 "to set aside a certain portion of the island of Mackinaw and the straits of Mackinaw, within the State of Michigan as a national park" was introduced December 2, 1874 and signed by the President on March 3, 1875.[1][2] The national park covered 821 acres while the fort retained 103 acres and the remainder of the island was privately owned.[3]

The park grounds abutted Fort Mackinac, which continued to serve as a garrison of the United States Army during the operation of the park, as well as island geological features such as Arch Rock and Sugar Loaf. The fort's commander ran the park and federal troops served as park rangers, as at Yellowstone. The park had the authority to construct roads and trails and to lease small numbers of lots for buildings to offset its expenses as no federal money was provided to run the park. The park lands had to be available to the army for military training and in time of war.[3]

In 1895, the fort was decommissioned and, at the request of the Michigan Governor John T. Rich, the park and fort was turned over to the State of Michigan, becoming Mackinac Island State Park, the first state park in Michigan.[4] The park was established on the condition that it remain a state park or it would revert to the United States. This restriction caused a problem in the 1960s when the city proposed to lease land from the park for an expanded airport for the island. The lease to the city was ruled a non-park use but the park, on its own, expanded and runs the airport.[5]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Congressional Record, Senate, 43rd Congress, 1st Session, page 12, December 2, 1874
  2. ^ Congressional Record, Senate, 43rd Congress, 2nd Session, page 2210, March 3, 1874
  3. ^ a b Annals of Fort Mackinac, Dwight H. Kelton, Detroit Free Press Printing Co., 1887
  4. ^ Pruning the Parks: Mackinac National Park (1875-1895), National Parks Traveller, Bob Janiskee, May 10, 2011
  5. ^ Report of the Attorney General, State of Michigan, 1963

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Coordinates: 45°52′00″N 84°37′00″W / 45.86666°N 84.61666°W / 45.86666; -84.61666