Wilderness State Park

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Wilderness State Park
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Map showing the location of Wilderness State Park
Map showing the location of Wilderness State Park
Location within the state of Michigan
Location Bliss Township, Emmet County, Michigan, United States
Nearest city Mackinaw City, Michigan
Coordinates 45°44′03″N 84°54′10″W / 45.73417°N 84.90278°W / 45.73417; -84.90278Coordinates: 45°44′03″N 84°54′10″W / 45.73417°N 84.90278°W / 45.73417; -84.90278
Area 10,512 acres (4,254 ha)
Established 1928 [1] [2]
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 and Mackinaw City. The state park is operated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Department 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.


The location of Waugoshance Point and Wilderness State Park

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; the most recent being in 1997.[3]

Four Lake Michigan lighthouses are situated near the park's western boundary. Stations at: Grays Reef, Skillagalee Island, Waugoshance, and White Shoal, warn shipping away from the dangerous reefs and shoals of Waugoshance Point.

Facilities and activities[edit]

Beach on Lake Michigan
  • 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 (36.61 km) of mapped trails, including a 5.5-mile-long (8.9 km) section of the North Country Trail.
  • Mountain biking
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Fishing
  • Boating: A launch gives vessels access to Big Stone Bay on Lake Michigan.
  • Picnicking
  • Playground
  • 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, when they are accessible by cross country ski or snowmobile.
  • 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.


  1. ^ http://umbs.lsa.umich.edu/research/sites/default/files/researchsites/docs/wildernesshistory.rtf "IN 1928, THE LANDS WERE TURNED OVER TO THE PARKS DIVISION AND THE AREA OFFICIALLY BECAME "WILDERNESS STATE PARK." "
  2. ^ https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/Wilderness_GMP_462495_7.pdf Appendix A page 7.
  3. ^ DuFresne, Jim (2005). The Complete Guide to Michigan Sand Dunes. Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press. p. 150. 

External links[edit]