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Portions of Ludington State Park to Close Starting Fall 2024

By Jim Gallie, park manager

We are aware that there are concerns and questions about Ludington State Park’s upcoming closure. This is a very rare and tremendous opportunity to complete needed upgrades to the park’s infrastructure. We have prepared this list of FAQs that will hopefully assist in addressing some of your questions and concerns.

Periodic updates will be posted on the Ludington State Park Facebook page.

1) When is Ludington State Park going to be closed ?
The majority of the park will close Sept. 3, 2024 through July 1, 2025. The dates of this closure and access to the park may change based on the progress of construction.
The 2,000 acres of parkland and beautiful 3-mile stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline south of the Big Sable River, including the hiking trails and boardwalk, will remain open and accessible to the public via roadway parking along M-116.
2) What is the scope of the project?
This project will realign and repave the park’s entrance and exit near the entrance booth; expand and repave the Lake Michigan beach and warming shelter parking lots; repave the Hamlin Lake parking lots and entire main park road.
To improve pedestrian safety and help vehicles circulate more efficiently, we will also add and improve pedestrian walkways around the entrance and into the beach parking lot. Additionally, the Skyline Trail will be renovated and other upgrades to park buildings and grounds will take place.
3) Why is the majority of the park closing to visitors?
We are closing the majority of the park for safety reasons. This project will entail lot of heavy and large construction equipment coming and going. With all the construction activity, we need to ensure that visitors are not put in harm’s way and contractors can operate equipment more efficiently and safely, which will hopefully help us meet the July 1, 2025 reopening.
4) Why can’t you phase these projects over multiple years to minimize the impact on visitors?
These projects are funded by a massive $250 million investment made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act.
The funding must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024, and completed by Dec. 31, 2026. Bundling projects into one large enhancement project lessens overall project costs and keeps the impact limited to the one or two seasons (instead of spreading it out over multiple seasons). The reason we scheduled a closure in May and June is due to the operating season for asphalt plants.
5) Are there any areas of the park that the public can visit?
Once we get a contractor in place and they provide a construction schedule, we will have a better grasp on which areas can be utilized by the public. The plan is to close the areas north of the Big Sable River, which means the dam, footbridge and highway bridge will temporarily close. Alternately, the 2,000 acres of parkland and 3-mile stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline south of the Big Sable River, including the hiking trails and boardwalk, will remain open via roadway parking along M-116.
When the Skyline Trail construction begins, the amphitheater parking lot will also closed.
Accessing the far northern portion of the park via Nordhouse Dunes (by foot) or boat on Hamlin Lake shouldn’t be a problem. We just ask that visitors do not venture south toward any of the construction areas.
6) What about boating to the Hamlin Lake or Lake Michigan beaches?
A lot of construction will take place in the Hamlin Lake day-use area. This area will be closed to the public and boats will not be allowed to moor. The dune and beach southeast of the dam, locally known as Rick’s Beach, will remain open to the public. The dunes at the far north end of Hamlin Lake will also be open to the public.
7) How do I learn about any updates to the closure of the park?
We will be updating this FAQ on Facebook as we get closer to the project start. Updates to the closure dates will be posted on this page and shared with local media. We will also be posting regular progress photos or videos throughout construction.
In addition, you can visit the DNR’s closure page at Michigan.gov/DNRClosures or visit the park page at Michigan.gov/Ludington.

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