Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

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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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