By Chelsea Richardson
The second weekend in July will be a busy one in Mackinac County for MNA members.
On Saturday, July 14, the Michigan Nature Association is teaming up with Woods and Water Ecotours for a guided paddling excursion through the beautiful Les Cheneaux Islands.
The Les Cheneaux Islands lie east of the Mackinac Bridge along the northern shore of Lake Huron near Cedarville. The 36 island archipelago that makes up the Les Cheneaux Islands provides sheltered channels and bays within the straits of Mackinac.
Historically, these islands were used by Native Americans and French explorers to reach the straits of Mackinac. They have been designated by the Nature Conservancy as one of the last greatest places in the Western Hemisphere because of their pristine environment.
Participants will paddle the protected waters of this 36 island archipelago near Cedarville, exploring inner bays, beautiful boreal forests, wildflowers and freshwater marshes. The area has long been a popular summer escape for paddlers, with sailboats and summer cottages around the islands.
A certified kayak guide/instructor, all equipment and lunch are provided. No experience is necessary. For more information about the kayak trip, visit the MNA website.
Not too far from the Les Cheneaux Islands is MNA’s Fred Dye Nature Sanctuary. On July 15 at 1 p.m., the Odyssey Tour will visit this this beautiful sanctuary and hike its easy terrain while taking in all that Northern Michigan has to offer.
This sanctuary, once called the Purple Coneflower Plant Preserve, is one of only two places in Michigan where the purple coneflower can be found.
In a single day’s trip to the sanctuary, visitors have reported seeing blue-eyed grass, violets, evening primrose, St. John’s wort, and a number of orchids in addition to coneflower. Bald eagles have been spotted on occasion, as well as evening grosbeak, sandhill cranes, deer, a red fox, and a large black bear.
For more information about the Odyssey Tour, see the Odyssey page on the MNA website.
We hope you’ll join us in Mackinac County during this fun-filled weekend! Give us a call at (866) 223-2231 if you have any questions.