RAPID RIVER – The Hiawatha National Forest is offering a wide variety of programs to entertain the public at area campgrounds this summer.
“We are excited to be able to offer these high quality programs this summer” said Anne Okonek, Acting Forest Recreation, Trails and Wilderness Program Manager for the Hiawatha National Forest. “We would not be able to provide these free programs to the public if it weren’t for the generous financial assistance of the Hiawatha Interpretive Association and Wildlife Unlimited of Delta County.”
Friday, Aug. 8
The next campground interpretive program which is entitled “Gone Batty” will take place on Friday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. at Camp 7 Lake Campground. This program will provide you an opportunity to learn about the life of a Michigan bat and how White-nose syndrome has recently been identified in our area. White-nose syndrome is a phenomenon that kills bats. Bats are a crucial part of a healthy ecosystem. Come learn how this disease is affecting bats in our area.
Saturday, Aug. 9
On Saturday, Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. at Bay Furnace Campground, there will be an interpretive program entitled “A Blast from the Past.” Bring your family to learn about the story of the historic blast furnace. “A Blast from the Past” is a look at the people and the iron industry that supported the old smelting town that once existed where Bay Furnace Campground now sits. Jump back in time and see what it was like living in the 1870’s and how pig iron was made.
Thursday, Aug. 14
Is your family looking for a day of fun and adventure? Come to the U.P. State Fairgrounds Pocket Park on Thursday, Aug. 14 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Forest Service employees from Rapid River and Manistique will staff the park where kids can learn outdoor skills such as fishing, shooting at the pellet range or at the archery range.
Friday, Aug. 15
On Friday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. at Camp 7 Lake Campground, there will be a Native American Dancing program. With a traditional background and upbringing, Reg Pettibone and wife Marca, from the Paiute Nation, will provide you with a better understanding of true Native American culture through dance, song, narration and an artifacts display with a strong environmental emphasis.
Friday, Aug. 15
Bring your family to Bay Furnace Campground on Friday, Aug. 15, where there will be an interpretive ranger program called “The Amazing Monarch Migration” at 7 p.m. The Hiawatha National Forest is proud to be a stop on the Monarch Migration. Join us as we follow the complex Monarch migration and find out some of the challenges along the way for this unique butterfly.
Saturday, August 16
On Saturday, August 16, at 7 p.m. at Bay Furnace Campground, Reg Pettibone and his wife Marca, from the Paiute Nation, will be presenting a Native American Dance program. Come with your family to learn about true Native American culture through dance, song, narration, and an artifacts display with a strong emphasis on the environment. This is truly a unique experience for the entire family to attend!
Friday, August 22
Are you interested in bats? Come to Camp 7 Lake Campground on Friday, August 22, at 7 p.m. for an interpretive ranger program entitled “Gone Batty!” During the program, your family will learn about the life of a Michigan bat and how White-nose syndrome has recently been identified in our area. White-nose syndrome is a phenomenon that kills bats. Bats are a crucial part of a healthy ecosystem so come learn how this disease is affecting bats in our area.
Saturday, August 23
The final interpretive ranger program of the summer will be held at Pete’s Lake Campground on Saturday, August 23, at 7 p.m. The program titled “Gone Batty!” will teach your family about the life of a Michigan bat, the affects of White-nose syndrome, a phenomenon that kills bats, and how it was discovered in our area!
Due to the close proximity of Camp 7 Lake to Manistique, Rapid River, Gladstone, Escanaba and Munising, many people drive to the campground for the evening programs; the programs are open to everyone, not just for those camping.
“Many people bring picnic dinners or go swimming as part of the evening” said Okonek.
All of the programs are free of charge. All programs begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted and will be held rain or shine, thanks to the availability of an event tent. Attendees are asked to bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on.
For more information on any of these programs, contact the Manistique District office at 906-341-5666, the Rapid River District office at 906-474-6442 or the Munising District office at 906-387-2512.
The Camp 7 Lake Campground is located 4 miles west of County Road 437 (the Thunder Lake Road) on Delta County Road 442 for those traveling from the Manistique area. For families traveling from Escanaba, Gladstone and Rapid River, Camp 7 Lake Campground is located 8 miles east of Forest Highway 13 on County Road 442.
The Bay Furnace Campground is located 5 miles west of Munising on M-28. Pete’s Lake Campground is located about 11 miles south of Munising on Forest Highway 13.
For those wishing to camp for the weekend, approximately half of the campsites can be reserved in advance by calling toll-free 1-877-444-6777 or going to recreation.gov. The remaining campsites are available on a first come, first served basis for those planning last-minute get-aways.