Photo: Don Peterson, MI DNR

P.J Hoffmaster Park

Students will learn about sand dune ecology at the state park.
Here’s what the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says about P.J. Hoffmaster:

“Excellent location to see and learn about Great Lakes sand dunes and the plants and wildlife that live on them. Hoffmaster has some of the finest dune formations and wooded dune complexes along the Michigan western shore. The park features 3 miles of pristine beaches on Lake Michigan, a spectacular dune overlook perched atop a towering forested dune, and the famous Gillette Visitor Center known throughout the Midwest for its outstanding educational programs and attractions. Sheltered valleys between the wooded dunes and dense stands of hemlocks make excellent habitat for migrating songbirds and raptors, providing great wildlife viewing opportunities during spring and fall migration” (Michigan Department of Natural Resources).

Photo: Haley Walker

Nordhouse Dunes

Students will camp at Nordhouse Dunes, about 12 miles southwest of Manistee, Mich.

The United States Forest Service has a wellspring of information on Nordhouse Dunes:

“The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area is the only Federally designated wilderness in Michigan’s lower peninsula and encompasses 3,450 acres of National Forest.

“Nordhouse Dunes is part of the Ludington Dune Ecosystem, which also includes Lake Michigan Recreation Area, Ludington State Park and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The dunes were formed 3,500 to 4,000 years ago and stand up to 140 feet high. Ludington Dune Ecosystem has the largest area of fresh water interdunal ponds in the world. The interdunal ponds, small water holes and marshes, decorate the area. Dune grass covers many of the dunes and provides habitat for a variety of wildlife species” (U.S. Forest Service).

The agency also provides a map of the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area:

Click to enlarge. Map: U.S. Forest Service.

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