Walk with dinosaurs, sail through a Great Lakes storm, paddle in a kayak, or snowshoe the backcountry. Whatever the season, there are always things to see and do in the Sanctuary of the Great Lakes.
Maple Ridge Township Park
End of LaComb Road in Maple Ridge Township, approx. 15 minutes northwest of the city of Alpena
45 rustic forested acres along a branch of Thunder Bay River. Enjoy a picnic in the pavilion, hike the foot trails over the steel frame bridge, fish, bird watch, or just relax and listen to the small river rapids.
- Picnic area
- Swing set
This park offers a nature preserve atmosphere with grass field for activities like kite flying. The park features grass ball diamond, volleyball courts, sandy swimming beach, and picnic areas. Perfect for family outings, a game of kick-ball, nature watching, and active recreation. Many shore birds can be spotted along the Lake Huron waterline.
Middle Island Light Station is located in Lake Huron, halfway between Thunder Bay Island and Presque Isle. There are seven buildings on the island, including a light tower, Keepers Quarters, an Oil House, Tool Garage, a Fog Horn building and two brick privies. The conical brick tower stands 77 feet tall. The Lighthouse is white with an orange band in the middle. It’s light is 78 feet above low water and can be seen for 17 miles.
Mystery Valley Sinkhole
GPS: 45.21225, -83.73243
Mystery Valley is a unit of the Thunder Bay Karst Preserve, along with Stevens Twins Sinks and Bruski Sink. The 76-acre Mystery Valley Karst Preserve and Nature Sanctuary is located in Presque Isle County just a few miles north of the Thunder Bay Karst Preserve. It contains one of the largest karst “collapse valleys” in the Great Lakes region, several dramatic earth cracks and a lake that rises and falls, and sometimes disappears! Visitors to the preserve can follow two self-guided trails: Earthcrack Trail and Valley Trail. Earthcrack Trail passes a series of cracks, including two that converge into one that’s several hundred feet long and nearly 15 feet deep. Following the Valley Trail, visitors can see fossils of marine invertebrates such as brachiopods, bryzoa and crinoids that lived some 350 million to 400 million years ago. Unlike a valley carved by a river, Mystery Valley was formed by the collapse of the surface into a labyrinth of subterranean chambers created by the water erosion of rock below. Mystery Valley is 1.5 miles long, 500 yards wide at its widest point and about 150 deep, making it one of the largest known collapse valleys in the Great Lakes region.
More information is available at the Alpena Visitor Welcome Center located at 420 N. Second Ave., Alpena, Mi