Letters

Letters 07-28-14

Worry About Legals

I can’t figure out what perplexes me more, the misinformation everywhere in the media or those who believe it to be true. Take the Hobby Lobby case; as a company that is primarily owned by a religious family, they felt their First Amendment rights were infringed upon by the “Affordable” Care Act...

Stop Labeling and Enjoy

I have been struggling to find a simple way of understanding for myself the concepts of conservative, liberal, and moderation as it relates to our social interactions with each other...

Proposal One & The Public Good

Are you kidding me? Another corporate giveaway with loopholes for large corporations who rule us? Hasn’t our corrupt and worthless governor done enough to raise taxes, provide corporate welfare, unjustly tax pensions, and shut down elected officials with his emergency manager racket...

The Truth About Road Workers

Apparently Mr. Kachadurian did not catch on to the fact that the MDOT Employee Memorial in Clare is a tribute to highway workers who lost their lives building our transportation systems. It was paid for by current and former MDOT employees who likely knew some of these people personally...

Idiotic and Misguided

As a seasonal resident, I always look forward to reading your paper, if only because of the idiotic letters to the editor and off the wall columns...


Home · Articles · News · Features · Old Mission Hiking: Beauty in...
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Old Mission Hiking: Beauty in Your Backyard

Beyond its famous wine and vineyards, Old Mission Peninsula is also the region’s hidden hiking gem.

Mike Terrell - May 19th, 2014  

“I wish it were in my backyard,” said Ron Macy, a downstate resident visiting the Traverse City area.

He was standing at the Old Mission Point Park overlook after a recent hike.

“It’s so pristine hiking up here. It’s why I keep coming back. I envy you living up here,” he told me after I said I lived less than a half-hour away.

If your backyard is close, don’t let summer pass you by without checking out these three special spots.

OLD MISSION POINT PARK

The viewing area, marked with a memorial bench, is about halfway between the two trailheads for the upper trail system. They are located off Murray Ridgewood roads and connected by a two-and-a-half-mile graveled trail.

The trail crosses over the peninsula highlands, offering some jaw-dropping views, including views of both bays.

Old Mission Point Park is one of three parks and natural areas located on Old Mission Peninsula that offer a varied collection of trails. The other two are Pelizzari Natural Area and Pyatt Lake Nature Preserve.

Old Mission Point Park contains around 560 acres, which includes Lighthouse Park. The township has a long-term lease on 500 acres of state-owned land, after a state park plan there failed. Lighthouse Park has a few miles of trails on 60 acres at the tip of the peninsula.

The additional state property has allowed the township to connect trails, offering more than six miles of hiking opportunities there.

PYATT LAKE

Pyatt Lake, located just north of Bowers Harbor off Neahtawanta Road, offers a short hike through some of the most botanically diverse natural areas in Grand Traverse County, according to Brad Gerlach, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy stewardship coordinator.

“It was one of the Conservancy’s first land protection projects in the early 1990s, and still remains one of our most important acquisitions,” he said. “The dune ridge is home to more than 250 plant species, and each spring orchids and trillium carpet the forest floor in a sea of color.”

Gerlach said that spring and fall are the the best times to visit, “before the mosquitoes start showing up in great numbers,” he said.

PELIZZARI NATURAL AREA

Pelizzari Natural Area, just off Center Road, a mile from the peninsula’s base, was partially an old family orchard. The orchard is gone, but there are open meadows and beautiful woods to hike through.

Trails meander from Center Road to just above East Shore Drive and East Bay. In the summer you mostly hear songbirds in the meadows and woods, Gerlach said.

An old growth stand of rare climax hemlock trees towers above East Shore Drive. The Lower Meadow Trails, surrounded by tall hills, are also filled with hemlocks, many more than 100 years old.

“There’s about three miles of trails crisscrossing the property, and they are getting a lot of use. In fact, it’s one of our most visited trail systems,” said Gerlach, a conservation specialist. “It’s like an oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of [an area] that houses a lot of people.”

 
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