Get off the Couch — Explore Michigan with Joan Young

February 2, 2012


Editor’s Note: I am very happy to introduce you to Joan Young of Amber Township. Last week, you may recall, I featured Joan in a story about her new fiction novel (click here for link). Beginning today, Joan will be writing about one of her passions, the outdoors. Joan holds the record as being the first woman to ever hike the North Country Trail, a very impressive endeavor. 


Get Off The Couch – Explore Michigan


Joan H. Young


mcp columnist


Cartier Park- Ludington


In this, the first of my columns at Mason County Press, I’ll explain a bit about what you can expect to see in the weeks ahead, and then showcase a local place to exercise, Cartier Park in Ludington.


“Get Off The Couch – Explore Michigan” will bring you information about locations where you can enjoy quiet, muscle-powered recreation. It’s also likely I’ll share interesting finds of animals or plants, maybe even some historical places or scenery you would be able to enjoy on a short car ride.


In all cases, the important thing is: you have to get off the couch to enjoy them in person. Most of the columns will focus on places in or near Mason County- you could easily see or do them on a day trip. But if I am a bit farther away and discover something nifty, I’m not going to let the distance stop me from sharing.
I love exploring our great state, and I hope you’ll enjoy coming with me. Better yet, go do some exploring of your own.


Now for today’s location: Cartier Park in Ludington.


This winter isn’t all that good for outdoor recreation. If you like to ski or snowshoe, there isn’t enough snow. If you like to walk, there’s just a little too much snow on trails with natural surfaces, and the ground is very wet.


Cartier Park is one good alternative. The paved trails are kept plowed by the city of Ludington. I walked the full loop, with its two tails, last Friday. Not every foot was cleaned down to the asphalt, but it was possible to walk safely in all but a few places. The total length of different trails is 1.3 miles, but to walk it all you have to walk each tail both ways, so one circuit adds up to a mile and a half. That’s not a long walk, but it’s enough to stretch your legs.


Dogs are allowed on leash, and plastic bags for poop pickup are provided, free, if you forget your own. The Ludington Dog Park is located at the northeast corner of the loop, so you could give your canine friend a little extra play time there, if the dog has more energy than you do.


Along the northern edge of the loop you can see Hamlin Lake, even walk out over the water on one of two docks. The docks are good for fishing, or birdwatching. Swans and ducks are commonly seen. I’ve even spotted an otter. The rest of the trail is within woods. On the west end the trail passes through the Cartier Park campground.


Bicycles are allowed.


There’s a porta-potty at the gazebo on the north side. You can park there, or at the corner of Rath and Slagle, or at the corner of Rath and Bryant. For more info and a map, see Cartier Park [ ].





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