eNewsletter Experience Michigan’s Paradise


July 8, 2015 Volume 1 Issue 4 camera_37f42f82c facebook youtube

Crisp Point Lighthouse | Events | PATC Spotlight

Paddling the Tahquamenon Area

Article by Ken Orlang at The Woods “Tahquamenon River” Canoe & Kayak Rental

Images are Courtesy of The Woods

Tahquamenon FallsWhen you think about the “Tahquamenon Area”, the first things that most people likely think about are the mighty Tahquamenon Falls, or the majestic pine trees that surround the area. In fact most people probably don’t know much more about our area beyond that. But beyond these things is a virtual treasure trove of activities available to outdoor enthusiasts. This article focuses on one of the most popular of those activities – canoeing and kayaking.

There are over sixty miles of good paddling water on the Tahquamenon River, but much of this is suitable only for experienced expedition paddlers due to the lack of easy access on much of the river, which necessitates longer paddling trips. Luckily though, opportunities are also plentiful for beginners and even children to paddle one of the shorter trips that are available. Due to the slow current along most of the river, it’s also possible to put your canoe or kayak in at one of the campgrounds, or boat launches, and simply paddle back and forth. Children and novices can also hone up on their skills in a canoe, or two person kayak with a more experienced paddler at the helm. Since the river is far less crowded than most rivers in more southern climates, it can be a great focal point for your out-of-doors getaway trip with the whole family.

Kayaking      On a typical trip down the Tahquamenon River, paddlers can expect to see a varied landscape – depending on the trip – consisting of thick forest, tall trees, grassy marshlands, high ridges, and an occasional sandy shoreline. Some common animals that are seen by paddlers of the Tahquamenon River are bald eagles, white-tailed deer, river otter, beaver, and a plethora of other small mammals, wild birds, waterfowl, and turtles. While plentiful to the area, larger animals like the black bear usually remain elusive during the day, but even an occasional moose, or gray wolf can sometimes be sighted. If fishing will be a component of your trip, you can expect to find – depending on which part of the river you’re on – perch, walleye, northern pike, musky, small mouth bass, and a variety of different pan fish.

Paddle Safely     There are a few important factors that contribute to a safe and pleasurable canoe or kayak trip. The first thing that every paddler should remember is to always wear a coast guard approved life vest appropriate for the wearers age and size. Second on the list but nevertheless equally important is to never stand up in the boat – that also includes when getting in and out, which is when most tip-overs occur. Most people are naturally inclined to stand straight up when entering or exiting a canoe or kayak, but you can prevent this by remembering to first set your paddle down nearby, put one foot in the boat, sit down, then bring your other foot in. This is not the only technique, but it will work in most cases. Another thing to remember is that whenever exiting the boat to be sure and check with your paddle for any uneven or unstable footing. To learn more about being safe on the water, please check out this website.

Under the Bridge     Whether you’re just paddling back and forth from your campsite, or venturing out for a full-fledged canoe/kayak trip, you’ll want to be sure to pack along a few things starting with some water and a nourishing snack. You should also ALWAYS BE PREPARED by taking along a good mosquito repellent (deet works best). On sunny days you’ll also need to prevent sunburn by using a good sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), or by wearing a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and a hat. Sunglasses also will prevent you from having to look directly into the sun. The Woods has a long list of items here that you might also consider taking along with you to help ensure that your trip is an enjoyable one.

Easy Access     With ten years experience on the Tahquamenon River, The Woods Canoe & Kayak Rental can recommend the best trip for your family or group. All of the trips they offer include paddles, life vests, and a shuttle service. They also offer a shuttle service for your own boats.

Last of all, have a great trip, and be sure to bring home something good to remember!

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Our next issue is due by September 10 and includes information about
Fall Colors, Run for the Light, and the fine art of Rock Hounding!

Paradise Area Community Experiences

Walk Toward the Light!

Article Written by Rick Brockway, Crisp Point Light House Historical Society

Images by permission from the Crisp Point Light Historical Society

Photo by David PiontekAmerica is filled with hidden treasures. One of those gems can be found at the end of an adventurous drive along Luce County Road CR-412, that has been described as nothing more than a groomed sand trail. As you progress along, the trail becomes progressively narrower and increasingly twisty. In fact, one almost wants to turn around but there is no room to leave the path. And at the end of this desolate drive, you arrive at a sandy beach that beckons you to walk toward the light.

The light is Crisp Point Light Station. In 1876 Crisp Point was originally the site of the Life Saving Station Number Ten, one of four that were put into operation that year located along the south shore of Lake Superior, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It was named after one of the station’s keepers, Christopher Crisp. In 1903 the white 58, conical lighthouse was constructed and became operational on May 5, 1904.

Crisp Point LighthouseThrough the years, the lighthouse and life-saving station has undergone massive damage due the erosion of the Lake Superior’s shoreline. In 1965 the US Coast Guard destroyed all remaining Life Saving and Lighthouse Station buildings leaving only the lighthouse and it’s attached service Building. During a fierce November 1996 storm, the attached service building was lost due to this erosion. Along this area, known as “the Shipwreck Coast’, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a violent November 10, 1975 storm about 17 miles northeast of Crisp Point.

In an effort to preserve this amazing light, the Crisp Point Light Historical Society was formed on July 7, 1992 to save, restore and operate the lighthouse. Under the Societies direction, they have institute extensive erosion control using large limestone to protect the lighthouse. In 2006 the Lighthouse’s Service Building was rebuilt. With these and many other restoration projects the lighthouse is returning to pristine condition. In 2009 a new visitor’s center was built which resembles the original Foghorn Building that once stood a couple hundred feet to the north east in front of the lighthouse.

Guest AmenitiesAlthough we will always have erosion concerns and repairs that need to be done to the tower, the Crisp Point Lighthouse will continue to shine for generations to come with the continued support from it’s society members and the general public. Every year, volunteers of the Historical Society, sign up to be volunteer keepers at the lighthouse from mid May through the middle of October. These keepers, open the lighthouse and visitors center daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. although some keepers will keep the tower and visitors center open longer for late arrivals.

Each year the Society holds an update conference on the third Saturday in July where attendees are updated on what has been going on for the past year and there are always some great guest speakers. At the 2015 meeting being held on July 18, the guest speaker will be Ric Mixter. Attendance is free to those who pre register. You may find more conference information on their web site, crisppointlighthouse.org

Family AdventureThe society has applied for a Lighthouse Assistance grant from the State of Michigan to do some major Tower exterior brick replacement. This grant, if approved, requires the Crisp Point Light Historical Society to pay all cost up front and then be reimbursed from the State from the Grant money. In 2012 the USCG awarded the Crisp Point Light Historical Society a permit to operated a Private Aid to Navigation (PATON). The first of May 2013 the new LED light was turned on and now operates from May 1 to November 1 each year.

The solitude, tranquility felt at the light is irreplaceable as you stand mesmerized by the waves rolling into the shoreline. We thank the passionate stewards who keep watch and preserve the best of America – and we are grateful to be part of their rebuilding process.

For more information on the Crisp Point Light Historical Society please visit their web site at crisppointlighthouse.org or follow them on Facebook at Facebook.com/Crisp-Point-Lighthouse. Noteworthy: Do not follow your GPS to the lighthouse.

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Our next issue is due by September 10 and includes information about
Fall Colors, Run for the Light, and the fine art of Rock Hounding!


Spotlighting a PATC Member

In this issue, the Paradise Area Tourism Council Member Spotlight falls on the Vagabond Motel. The term Vagabond is derived from the Latin term vagari or “wander”. Traveling to the Paradise area, visitors can’t help but wander between the Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls and Whitefish Point. Unless you’ve had the opportunity to wander about Lake Superior’s shoreline looking for that perfect rock, maybe you really haven’t experienced “wandering”.

Vagabond CabinTaking in the beauty of the area including nearby Curley Lewis Scenic Byway through the National Hiawatha Forest a traveler can grow weary. In the heart of Paradise, the Vagabond Motel offers clean, comfortable, and quiet respite at the most reasonable rates in town. The Vagabond Motel offers nine conventional motel rooms and a cabin. Situated directly on the Tahquamenon Scenic Heritage Byway, Michigan State Route M-123, the Vagabond motel is not located on the water’s edge or the deep woods but they do offer quiet rest and an easy walk to area restaurants and gift shops.

Vagabond Motel OfficeThe European vagabond character is often portrayed as a person with a limited income. While the guests of the Vagabond Motel may or may not have a limited income, owner’s Mike and Nancy Mitchell believe in offering their guest a good value. Since its inception, the Vagabond has been serving the needs of travelers to the area since it was built in 1964 by Mike’s parents, Earl and Agnes. Earl and Agnes were originally from the Iron Mountain area before settling in Paradise. Earl worked as a DNR Fire Officer, his office was located in the building where the current Paradise Area Night Riders keep their grooming equipment. Mike spent many early years grooming the snowmobile trails to Pine Stump and back. Mike and Nancy took over ownership of the Vagabond Motel August 1, 1980. Nancy came from the Newberry area, west of Paradise in Luce County.

In Room ComfortsContinuing the legacy of a quiet place to rest, Mike and Nancy raised their three children in Paradise and take great comfort in providing their children with that type of foundation, a community rich in natural accoutrements, heritage, and historical significance. The Vagabond Motel offers to continue the legacy to a third generation of Mitchells.

Snow enthusiasts have been dialed in to the Vagabond for years pulling up their web cam online to monitor snow conditions at any hour of the day. Is it any wonder that come time for the avid snowmobiler to ride some of the area’s 120 miles of trails, the Vagabond is a favorite base camp. Located within the newly (2014) ordained ORV trail system in Paradise, the Vagabond provides ORV riders, easy access to trails as well as the comfort a great place to rest.

Vagabond Motel RoomOver the years, Mike and Nancy have met a lot of people with interesting stories to tell. As Mike says, Nancy could write a book. We hope one day she will. But in the mean time, give them a call at 906-492-3477, and schedule your next trip to the Eastern Upper Peninsula by staying at the Vagabond Motel.

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Our next issue is due by September 10 and includes information about
Fall Colors, Run for the Light, and the fine art of Rock Hounding!


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