Saturday, August 20, 10am Eastern
Grand Mere State Park
Most of the habitats found along our Lake Michigan shoreline are unique to the Great Lakes, and the Harbor Country Hikers has visited many of them. Pat Fisher, Hikers president and leader for this hike, will define the habitats and where to find them. We will see several of the habitats on this hike. If you are interested in extending this hike from 2.5 miles to 5-plus miles, you will be rewarded with some spectacular views in a seldom-visited part of the park. Expect to spend at least three hours on the longer route. Some areas of this hike have little shade, so dress appropriately and bring plenty of water. It will be worth your time. Grand Mere has nearly 1,000 acres of beautiful undeveloped wetlands, woods, sand dunes and beach. Protected from the lake by dunes to the west, the park has many natural features not found in the rest of the state. In 1968, Grand Mere was designated a National Natural Landmark. A Michigan Recreation Passport is required. If you don’t have one, you can pick one up in advance–or get an out-of-state day pass–at the main entrance to Warren Dunes. Wear long pants, preferably tucked in, a sun hat, sturdy shoes or boots and insect repellent, and bring plenty of water. Depending on the weather, there may be some damp or muddy areas. The Hikers observes federal and state Covid guidelines, and face masks are currently optional.
Directions: Grand Mere State Park is on Thornton Dr. in Stevensville, Mich. From Red Arrow Highway, head west on John Beers Rd. After passing the I94 westbound exit, turn south (left) onto Thornton Dr. The entrance road will be on your right, about 0.5 mi. from the turn onto Thornton. We will gather near the parking area.
Estimated Presentation Time: 15min.
Estimated Total Time: 2 hrs. (2.5 mi. hike) or 3-plus hrs. (5-plus mi. hike)
Hiking Distance: 2.5 mi. or 5-plus mi.
Physical Difficulty: Moderate, slight climbs and some loose sand
Hike Leader: Pat Fisher, president, Harbor Country Hikers
The Hikers holds occasional Flash Hikes evenings, while it’s light out, and weekends when there are no scheduled HCH events. These hikes have no theme, no leader–just a walk in the woods with like-minded people.
The only notification of Flash Hikes will be by email to our list of members and others who’ve signed up for email notices of Hiker activities, and the emails announcing the Flash Hikes will go out two or three days beforehand. If you’re not on our email list and would like to be, send your address to email@example.com. As always, we look forward to hiking with you.
Harbor Country Hikers welcomes dogs on our hikes, as long as they’re well-behaved and on leashes. Those who manage some of the trails we hike may feel otherwise, however, and they have the final word. Check with them before you bring the pooch. Chikaming Open Lands allows dogs in its preserves, as do the state parks. Chikaming Township Parks allow dogs. Berrien County Parks do not, nor do the New Buffalo Schools Nature Study Trails. Fernwood generally doesn’t, either, except on special occasions. The Dunes National Park generally allows dogs.
Other Hiking and Related Activities
Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve–At 13988 Range Line Rd. in Niles, Mich., Fernwood and its trails are currently open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm, and Sunday, noon-5pm. There is an admission fee for non-members.
Indiana Dunes National Park–The Indiana Dunes National Park has started charging admission. A vehicle pass, good for one to seven days, is $25. Those who come on foot, by boat or by bike are charged $15, up to $25 per family. A motorcycle pass costs $20, and an annual pass goes for $45. Passes are available at several park locations, and the park hopes to make them available at some retail businesses near the Dunes as well. The Dunes National Park says the admission fees will help pay for the Marquette Greenway bike trail and infrastructure improvement.
Alternatively, you can pick up passes good at any national park. An annual pass costs $80 and is available to anyone. A similar pass for active military, veterans and Gold Star Family members is free. Seniors, anyone 62 or over, can pick up an annual pass for $20 or a lifetime pass for $80. For information about national passes, visit https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm.
Indiana Dunes State Park
Call 219-926-1390 for information about park activities.