Much like finding your “soul workout” or your “spirit animal”, finding your “soul park” is finding that space in nature that speaks to your mind, body, and spirit. It makes you feel grounded, yet free like a bird. It provides you mental clarity while also providing the space to daydream. There’s a soul park for everyone in Alpena, MI!
Duck Park & Island Park
For the Adventurer’s Spirit. Cross the beautiful, hand-hewn covered wooden bridge to get to Island Park, which features nature trails, fishing platforms, and 5 distinctly different ecosystems. Duck Park offers fishing and a picnic area and provides a great vantage point for viewing a large variety of bird species in the sanctuary area. Step up your adventure by renting a kayak or canoe and paddle through the intricate waterways of the Thunder Bay River’s 500-acre wildlife sanctuary. Kayak and canoe rentals are available seasonally at the park by Alpena Pedal & Paddle.
Bay View Park
For the Dreamer. Located conveniently off of State Ave., Bay View Park includes a Fine Arts Band Shell, basketball and tennis courts, play area, picnic area and break-wall walking path with a beautiful view of Lake Huron. You can stare out at Lake Huron from the break-wall for hours getting lost in your thoughts. Or, bring a book and a hammock to take your mind someplace else for a little while. The crashing waves of Lake Huron provide the perfect, relaxing background noise for any daydreamer.
For the Mermaid at Heart. Ever feel like you were meant to live in the water? Like a mermaid (or a merman), under a blanket of crystal clear water is where you feel most comfortable. Paddle out to the Harvey Bissell, where she rests in 12 ft. of water only .55 miles from Thomson beach. Snorkeling this cargo shipwreck will make anyone with a “mermaid spirit” feel like they are right at home!
Blair Street Park
For the Photographer. Capturing a moment in time is an art form and the Blair Street Pier never disappoints. No matter what kind of day Mother Nature has in store for us, you will get your best shot on this pier! Catching the sky/pier/Lake Huron trio will evoke a variety of emotions depending on the shot composition. Take a photo down at Blair Street Park and tag @visit_alpena on IG and/or Alpena: Sanctuary of the Great Lakes on FB.
For the Athlete. Mich-e-ki-wis Park offers a variety of athletic activities for the person who wants to get more than just a stroll through the park. Bring a volleyball and friends for a round or two of V-ball. Got a BMX bike? There are bike ramps adjacent to the volleyball nets as well as opportunities for water adventure. Pop into Performance Locker right behind the park and rent yourself some stand up paddleboards for fun paddle over Lake Huron! The possibilities are endless at Mich-e-ki-wis.
Rockport State Recreation Area
For the Archeologist at Heart. Rockport is a park with many faces for all different types of personalities. For the lover of all things Earth and history related, this park is the “soul” park for the novice archeologist and nature enthusiast. Dig into the abandoned quarry where you’ll find over 400-million-year old fossils from the Devonian Period. Visitors are allowed to take up to 25 lbs. of fossils from the park per year. That’s a lot of fossils!
Negwegon State Park
For the Stargazer. Named after Native American Chief Negwegon, this state park has a rich heritage behind it’s rustic and remote location. In 2016, Negwegon (along with the 2 other state parks listed in this blog), was named an official dark sky park. This means that the light pollution levels are low enough (and will remain low under dark sky protection) to view the stars in the night sky with the naked eye. So get away from the city for a night and look up to the sky at Negwegon. Notice the light fog of the milky way swirl around the Earth through a bazillion stars in the sky. You’ll feel a million miles away, yet never closer to where you’re supposed to be.
Thompson’s Harbor State Park
For the Naturalist. With 5,000 acres of limestone, sand dunes, upland, and marsh, Thompson’s Harbor is good for the soul of any lover of nature. Trek through the 7.5 miles of Lake Huron shoreline or network the 6 miles of rustic trails of one of the last remaining of 50 forested wet swale communities. The perfect park for practicing “shinrin-yoku” a.k.a forest bathing.
These are just the tip of the iceberg of “soul” park matches in Alpena. For a complete list of city parks and trails, visit www.visitalpena.com/adventures/parks-trails-beaches/
Tell us, where is your soul park?