Dedicated to the support of the Ludington State Park!

  • Saturday, September 03, 2022 11:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The September 2022 eNewsletter can be accessed by clicking here

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    The August 2022 eNewsletter can be accessed by clicking here

  • Tuesday, July 05, 2022 2:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

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  • Saturday, June 04, 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The June 2022 eNewsletter can be accessed by clicking here.  

  • Tuesday, May 31, 2022 7:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    An Action Track Chair purchased for Ludington State Park by Friends of Ludington State Park will improve access to miles of trails, the 1.8-mile walk (one way) trek to iconic Big Sable Point Lighthouse and the beach to people with mobility challenges.

    The powered, tracked chair is now available to use, by reservation on the Friends of Ludington State Park website, at no cost to the user. 

    Life-long area resident Jamie Spore, who uses a wheelchair having been born with spina bifida, recently used the Action Track Chair in the park on the Logging Trail and the beach near the Lake Michigan beach house. 

    “I had a blast!” said Spore, the 2016 Miss Michigan Wheelchair who serves on a Michigan barrier free design board. “It was so cool to be able to explore parts of the state park that I’ve never seen before even though I have lived here all my life.

    “The Logging Trail reminded me of an enchanted forest like the ones you read about in children’s books. The warming shelter was so neat, too.” 

    But the best was yet to come.

    “My favorite part of the day was visiting the beach. That was a blast! That was the first time in my life I ever successfully drove through sand,” Jamie said.

    Earlier this spring, the park installed an FLSP-purchased SeaCoast EnChroma viewer on the Skyline Trail. The viewer enables color blind individuals to see color. A bike fixing station to be installed near the park headquarters also is an FLSP-funded project.  In 2021, FLSP purchased a universal access kayak/canoe launch for use at the Hamlin Lake beach.

    "Over the past 10 years, we have really focused on accessibility improvements for our visitors,” Ludington State Park Manager Jim Gallie, stated. “We've been fortunate to have such a great partnership with the Friends of Ludington State Park.”

    FLSP, a 401(c)3 non-profit is marking its 30th year of helping Ludington State Park with a goal of making improvements to the park, its environment and the visitor experience through fund-raising for projects the park often is unable to do on its own and in providing volunteer support.

    “The playground at Hamlin, the accessible beach walkway and now the EnChroma viewer and track chair, are all made possible because of this partnership,” Gallie said.

    "The Friends are excited to have provided the track chair to allow individuals with mobility challenges increased access to the beauty of the Ludington State Park,” said Patrick O’Hare, FLSP president.  “Because we expect the track chair to be a very popular, we are currently fundraising for a second track chair to be added in May 2023”.”

    A Community Foundation for Mason County grant, funds donated to FLSP as the charity recipient of the Pure Ludington Brrrewfest and donations from individuals were used to purchase the track chair and a trailer for it.

    "We expect that the track chair will get a lot of use by people visiting the lighthouse,” Gallie said.  “I expect that is where it will be most popular."

    Spore said she was pleasantly surprised by how easy the chair is to control.

    The rider uses a mounted joystick to control the chair. 

    It also has an option for a person walking behind the chair to control it by a handheld joystick if the rider is unable to operate a joystick.

    Users of the chair will be required to be able to transfer into or out of the chair on their own or have someone with them who can assist in the transfer. 

    "Use of the chair will be limited to some areas, primarily so we can access the chair with our equipment in case it breaks down,” Gallie added. “The beaches, lighthouse road, pathways around Hamlin and the Logging Trail are where we're going to start out allowing its use. If we discover more locations where we can get our equipment and trailer, that may change."

    "We really appreciate the Friends group help in getting this chair for our visitors."

    “It was fun!” Spore said of the track chair outing. While riding, she proclaimed, “It’s a good day to be Jamie!”

    By Steve Begnoche

  • Sunday, May 01, 2022 7:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

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  • Saturday, March 05, 2022 11:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In 1989, I was fortunate enough to be chosen as the new Park Manager at Ludington State Park. Ludington has always been recognized as one of the most resource rich and resource diverse parks in the system. As a result, it experiences heavy day use and consistently ranks as the most popular camping destination in the system.  Although visitor attendance is impressive, the park has also always enjoyed a lot of support from the local community. This was evident when the community encouraged the establishment of the park almost 100 years ago and it continues today.

    On my very first day on the job, our Regional Park Supervisor visited the park to welcome me and discuss some goals and objectives as we moved forward. At the top of the list was the suggestion that we encourage the establishment of a “friends group” that would enlist some community leaders to harness that local support.  The group could assist the park with its mission of protecting natural and cultural resources while at the same time providing quality outdoor recreational opportunities to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

    As I got my feet on the ground and after a few false starts “Friends of Ludington State Park” was officially established in 1992. The original board members were Dave Hall, Larry Kivela, Dave Peterson and Steve Begnoche. One of the board’s first tasks was to complete the necessary paperwork to establish the group as a non-profit 501c3 organization. This allowed donations to be tax deductible.

    In addition to some early donations, the board decided to operate a small book store at our Great Lakes Visitor Center. The store would provide some much-needed funds to do a few projects that were special or beyond the scope of normal park operations. In addition, the sale items tried to emphasize natural and cultural resources and served as an interpretive vehicle.

    Early projects were made possible with donations from the community and grants from local businesses. We started a recycling program in our campgrounds. A short time later, the group started a “bench replacement” program that emphasized recycling. Ludington State Park had many traditional green wooden benches that had seen a better day. The bench program allowed a park user to donate the cost of a maintenance free hard plastic bench made from recycled materials to the friends group. Then the friends would purchase the bench and the park staff would place the bench in the park. Usually the donation was “in memory of” someone who had enjoyed the park. We placed a plaque naming that person and noted that the bench was made from recycled milk jugs. The program started out a bit slow but as park visitors got the idea the program became very successful. We eventually had approximately 100 benches donated before we had to say enough. 

    The friends also accepted donations for plastic handicap accessible tables and eventually nursery stock to plant in our campgrounds. They led the effort to establish the Canoe Trail, which was the first of its kind in Michigan State Parks. They provided funds to purchase dune grass and helped recruit volunteers to plant the grass in the park to prevent erosion. They funded many interpretive programs and evening music and storytelling programs. They paid for taxidermy specimens at the Visitor Center.

    They spearheaded the construction of the warming shelter with “buy-a-log” donations.

    These are just a few of the projects that the friends helped initiate and fund. 

    The friends group, thirty years later, continues to help the park. The new accessible playground at the Hamlin Lake beach area is a wonderful example. The friends partnered with community and park users, local businesses, the Community Foundation for Mason County, the Great Lakes Energy Foundation and Parks and Recreation Division to raise the very substantial funds necessary to make that playground a reality.

    I am sure that everyone who enjoys the park and knows the story of the group over the last 30 years appreciates Friends of Ludington State Park.

    Thank You! 

    Happy 30th Anniversary!

    Warren M. Mullen

  • Saturday, March 05, 2022 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The March 2022 eNewsletter can be accessed by clicking here

  • Tuesday, February 01, 2022 8:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The February 2022 eNewsletter can be accessed by clicking here

Friends of Ludington State Park, P.O. Box 123, Ludington, MI 49431 --  Contact us via Email

For park reservations or other information check out the Ludington State Park Website.

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