Page 96 - Visitors Guide 18
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County also
offers parks
A national park, scores of Leelanau Conservancy natural areas, a state park and miles
of Pere Marquette State Forest land in the south central part of the county.
While that’s quite a lineup of recreational opportunities for one county, it’s not complete.
Leelanau County also offers three parks on both sides of Lake Leelanau that take in about 225 acres for public use.
Updates are underway or being planned at all three parks, but they’ll remain open for public use. And for those weary of paying fees to use “their” land, there’s good news. The county government does not collect fees or require a pass for use of the parks.
Following is a quick overview of what you can expect at each:
• Old Settlers Park is a
classic, having its roots in the Old Settlers Picnic that  rst began in 1892. Located in near downtown Burdickville — that’s right, residents bristle at being Glen Arbor or Empire residents — Old Settlers offers big Glen Lake beach front, a small dock, pavilion and picnic tables. The chapel has a history onto itself, and warmly welcomes visitors during its lone business day of the year during the Old Settlers Picnic. That’s when long-time residents and visitors  ll its pews for a non-denominational service at 10:30 a.m.
The picnic itself is a hoot, with prizes awarded for the oldest and youngest participants, cedar shingle demonstrations and accordion music prompting some to dance. Members of
the Empire Masonic Lodge serve barbecued beef, cowboy beans and sweet corn picked the previous day.
Some ground improvements are being considered for
Sid Beechcraft, a staple at the Old Settlers Picnic, helps Alice Huber slice a cedar shingle. The Beechcraft family for many years has demonstrated old-fashioned milling techniques at the picnic.
There are more recreation offerings.
2-for-1 at State Park
You get two for the price of one with a visit to Leelanau State Park.
The park located at
the tip of the Peninsula encompasses 1,300 acres that includes a long stretch of priceless shoreline
on Cathead Bay that’s accessible through the park’s 8.5 miles of hiking trails. Just this winter some new trails were opened up for fat tire bike use when snow depths allow.
The park includes
the crown jewel of the Peninsula, the Grand Traverse Lighthouse
that’s now operated by
a nonpro t. The Grand Traverse Lighthouse
Museum offers a  rst-class experience with exhibits and even a chance to become a “keeper” through a volunteer program.
Also offered are a rustic campground, two mini cabins, and a picnic area. Petoskey stone hunting is a favorite activity.
the park, but locals made
their voices known when
more drastic changes were considered. As the old timers say, “If it ain’t broke, why  x it?”
• Myles Kimmerly Park straddles County Road 616 between Cedar and Maple City. The 143 acres includes baseball and soccer  elds, and a golf range. Proposed are a one-mile walking trail as well as running water and  ush toilets, among other projects included in a recently updated master plan. On the north side of the road is a historic barn that was considered for demolition. Now the keys have been turned over to a nonpro t, which plans to shore up its bones for another 100 years.
• Veronica Valley, located off County Road 641 about four miles south of the village of Lake Leelanau, is considered
a bird watching paradise. And it should only get better with native prairie grasses planted last year.
The ponds in front are stocked with bluegill and are restricted to “kids  shing” — and in fact, the park hosts a big event each spring to encourage their use. Kids Fishing Day is scheduled for Sunday, June 23, with the ponds stocked with bluegill through a group effort of the county Parks and Recreation Commission, Lake Leelanau Lake Association, state DNR, nonpro ts and businesses.
The park is wonderful for
dog walking — on a leash, of course — and quiet sitting. It’s back ponds are rarely used and quiet.
The county recently applied for a $270,000 Michigan Trust Fund grant to make the park even better.
Leelanau Visitors Guide 2018

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