In the 1990s, a group of pals set out to promote the wise use of Ludington State Park, one of the best-known “jewels” in the state of Michigan. The park boasts miles of sand dunes, Hamlin Lake, the Sable River, Lake Michigan beaches, and various ecosystems are home to wildlife and visitors.
By organizing a group of volunteers, assessing the park’s needs, and holding regular fundraisers, Friends of the Ludington State Park was born – and it has put Ludington on the map as a place where people of all abilities are welcome to visit.
Visitors to the park will want to experience these park improvements that Friends’ fundraisers have supported:
A handicapped-accessible playground at the Hamlin Beach Picnic Area. The playground was designed to provide accessible routes of travel and inclusive play activities, so that children of all abilities may participate. (dedicated in 2018)
A kayak launch on Hamlin Lake, where a person can at the end of a dock seamlessly get into a kayak and onto the lake for an afternoon of paddling. This project followed all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Two kayak racks have also been installed. (2021)
A new protected water trail that is easy for paddlers. From the kayak launch, participants would head north along the shoreline of Hamlin Lake. A series of directional signs will be installed to direct paddlers, and maps will be available. The 2-mile water trail opens July 1.
An all-terrain track chair, which improves access to miles of trails, the 1.8-mile walk (one way) to the iconic Big Sable Point Lighthouse and beaches to people with mobility challenges. The chair can be rented at no cost, and a staff member will ensure you have an enjoyable trip around the park. It was used 58 times in its inaugural year (2022). A second chair will be purchased in 2023.
A universally accessible walkway to Lake Michigan.
A SeeCoast EnChroma Viewer on the Skyline Trail. The installation of this viewer was the first in the state of Michigan using the EnChroma technology for individuals who are color blind. Imagine seeing a Lake Michigan sunset in full color for the first time! (2022)
In 2023, Friends of the Ludington State Park plans to purchase “beach cruisers” that will be driveable on sand and available to rent.
In addition to these projects, FLSP holds weekly musical events at the state park during the summertime. Guided hikes and lantern-lit snowshoe hikes are also part of the group’s endeavors. All of the programming is free to the public. To learn more, head to friendsofludingtonstatepark.org.