Get Off the Couch — Explore Michigan with Joan H. Young

March 8, 2012

Gale’s Pond- Plan a Spring Outing



Joan H. Young


mcp outdoors blogger


Just southeast of Hart is a gem of an Oceana County Park known as Gale’s Pond The area has been a park since 1939, but originally the pond had been created to power a sawmill and blacksmith shop. It was even served by a railroad. When the industries died, the land was donated to the county.


More recently the facilities were enhanced with money from the Michigan Recreation Trust Fund.


The pond is encircled by a half-mile loop trail, about a third of which is boardwalk. The pond has three small feeder creeks and is drained, over the dam, by Halftile Creek, which leads to the Pentwater River.


There is a small picnic area with several tables and a grill. There is no potable water and no latrine, so you probably wouldn’t want to spend an entire day there, but it’s a great place for a short walk and a meal.

Spring is a particularly nice time to visit because there is a variety of good plant material around the pond. I’ve seen rattlesnake plantain (a wild orchid), two kinds of toothwort, and prickly currant, in addition to many of the more common wildflowers. It’s also a great location for birdwatching. A cattail marsh at one end, bisected by the boardwalk, is lively with red-winged blackbirds in season, ducks and herons are also regular visitors.


There is a fairly steep bank where you could possibly slip a canoe or kayak into the water, but there isn’t a place to put a larger boat in. It’s too small a pond to bother with that, anyway.


From the parking lot, a wheelchair user could get on the boardwalk and descend to lake level into the cattails. In the center of that area is a wider viewing platform making a turnaround possible. The grade of the boardwalk seems to me to be slightly more than the 2% standard for accessibility, but I think could be navigated by most wheelchairs.

Just around the corner on 112th Avenue is another park called Doolittle Memorial Park, with about 3/8 mile of trail, also a loop. If one walked between the two areas, a two-mile hike is possible.

To reach Gale’s Pond, go east from Hart on Polk Rd to angling York Road. Turn south east

and watch for Fillmore, a dirt road to the east. Take this to Gale’s Pond. Mason County’s community blog and news site. News and information for Ludington, Scottville, Custer, Free Soil, Fountain, Walhalla, Branch and all places in between.

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