FLSP January 2022 eNewsletter

Throughout 2022, FLSP will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary of giving back to the Ludington State Park. Two of our current Board Members, Dave Hall and Steve Begnoche, along with Mike Mullen, Larry Kivela and David Peterson, had the foresight to start the Friends group in 1992. FLSP Members and Donors have continued to lend their support throughout the years and have steadily supported a variety of projects that we will highlight throughout the year.

FLSP Property Donation

In the 1920s a group of Ludington civic minded citizens raised funds to purchase property between Hamlin Lake and Lake Michigan. The property was then donated to the State of Michigan to become a cornerstone of the Ludington State Park. Almost a hundred years later FLSP is in the process of transferring two small parcels received as a donation, within the old platted Piney Ridge Resort property, to the State of Michigan. These two parcels lie within the boundaries of the Ludington State Park management plan and like the property donated in the 1920s will become part of the Park.  

Bottle and Can Return 

One of the stewardship and fundraising projects that FLSP has done for many years is the processing of returnable bottles and cans donated by LSP campers.  The sorting of the bottles and cans is a time consuming process completed by the Camp Hosts.  After sorting, about two-thirds of the returnables are processed through two beer distributors. The remaining third, consisting of mostly pop bottles and cans, are returned to local stores by a number of FLSP volunteers.  The program runs from late May to late September.  This past summer a total of 67,930 bottles and cans were sorted and returned netting FLSP $6,793.  FLSP would like to thank the Camp Hosts and FLSP volunteers that processed all of the returnables. 

Bottles and cans being returned to the Meijer store by a FLSP volunteer.

Winter Zoom Sessions 

FLSP has scheduled numerous sessions, via Zoom, regarding the Ludington State Park. Everyone is invited to participate in these no cost sessions by registering here.

  • Big Sable Lighthouse History with Peter Manting, Executive Director of Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association - Tuesday, January 25, 7 pm
  • Great Lakes, Past, Present and Future with Alan Wernette, DNR Park Interpreter - Tuesday, February 15, 7 pm
  • State of the Ludington State Park with Jim Gallie, LSP Park Manager - Tuesday, April 26, 7 pm

Sign-up to Volunteer for Brrrewfest!

Mark your calendar for Saturday, January 29 for Brrewfest! This Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce event has become a major fundraiser for FLSP. Funds from past Brrewfest events helped to pay for the new kayak launch installed at LSP in 2021. 

FLSP, as the charity partner for Brrewfest, is responsible for getting volunteers to help set-up and take down the event site as well as serve as pourers. We need over 100 volunteers! 

Volunteers Needed for Lantern Events

Skiing by lantern light at the LSP.

Returning this winter are the lite snow shoeing / skiing / hikes on Saturday evenings in January and February. We need volunteers to help with the events.  

Click here to Volunteer

For a complete list of winter activities click here.

FLSP Board Member Spotlight - Craig Rathke

Judy and Craig Rathke

Parks have always played a special part in my life. I was a Park Foreman for two years at the Woodridge Park District in Woodridge, IL, then the Superintendent of Parks in Tinley Park, IL for the next 35 years. 

My wife and I had been traveling to different areas looking for a nice place to retire that was not too far from family and friends in Illinois. In 2009, we made our way to Ludington during a “beach town” trip along the Michigan side of Lake Michigan.  Little did we know at the time that Ludington

would be our “place.”  There was something about Ludington and the Ludington State Park that stuck with us after our return home. We returned several times during the next two years. The community was always so welcoming, and it felt like a good fit.

I retired in 2011 and we moved here that year. I decided that I wanted to volunteer my time and give back to the Parks and Recreation field.  We started out by helping the FLSP group with painting projects and trail maintenance. I joined the FLSP board in 2013 and was impressed with how welcoming the State Park staff made us feel.

In 2015, the board needed a new Treasurer. I did not have a lot of experience with bookkeeping, but with the help of my wife Judy who worked for two public accounting firms for 25 years, I (we) took the position.

I have enjoyed helping with the many projects the FLSP has taken on in recent years, especially the new Accessible Playground and Kayak Launch.  The Lantern Lit Snowshoe Hikes are fun too.

In our spare time we enjoy playing Pickleball, gardening, beach time and are also block captains for the Petunia Parade. 

We are looking forward to a healthy and busy 2022.

Craig and Judy Rathke

Please consider donating to FLSP!

There are many ways to support the FLSP. You may give towards overall park stewardship (trees, trail maintenance, historical structure repair), programming (summer entertainment, environmental education, signage, snowshoeing) or specific projects. See our donor page for more information. 

Membership Renewal

It is that time of year for annual membership renewals. You may pay your membership on-line or by mailing a check indicating that it is for a membership. If you are not currently a member please consider joining today.