25 Years: Grand Island National Recreation Area

Welcome to Grand Island National Recreation Area!

May 17, 2015, marks the 25th anniversary of Grand Island National Recreation Area.  Congress purchased and designated Grand Island National Recreation Area in recognition of the outstanding features of this Lake Superior gem near Munising, MI.   Plan your visit today and join us in the celebration of this milestone!

"Throughout the spring and summer of 2015, the U.S. Forest Service’s Hiawatha National Forest and our local community will celebrate Grand Island's 25th anniversary as a National Recreation Area," said Forest Supervisor, Jo Reyer.  "We hope the public will join us by attending special interpretive programs throughout the summer, and by participating in 'Grand Island Day.'"

Grand Island Day

August 8, 2015

  • Free entrance fee
  • Free Roundtrip Passenger Ferry Service (courtesy of Hiawatha Interpretive Association) 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Free Altran Bus Tour Shuttle (courtesy of Hiawatha Interpretive Association) 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Special Educational Programs will be available around the island. You will learn about black bears, native plants and the Island’s historic and prehistoric inhabitants; explore historic structures and see first-hand the results of ongoing efforts to restore historic structures using historic methods; and dive into the amazing story of Grand Island’s geology as you overlook soaring cliffs and sweeping beaches.

As you plan your visit to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, we hope you will consider joining us for this celebration!  But even if you aren’t able to travel to the Island that day, we hope you'll join us in marking this anniversary.  For instance you might:

  • Plan a visit for another time in 2015.  We'll have interpretive programs available throughout the summer, so even if you can't join us for the big August 8th celebration, you can still visit and experience the wonder of the island and learn more about its fascinating natural and cultural history!
  • If a visit in the cards this summer, you can still stroll down memory lane with us here, online!  Check out the links below.

Learn More

Grand Island Day Event

Special Insert to Superior Wildlands Newspaper:  Grand Island Highlights and Historic Timeline

Highlights of Grand Island NRA Implementation (slide show, coming soon!)


GI25 BannerMany individuals and individuals have played a role in Grand Island NRA's designation and implementation over the course of the past 25 years.  In the late 1980s, a diverse group of citizens and interests envisioned transitioning then privately-owned Grand Island – a lovely green jewel situated in Lake Superior just offshore of Munising, Michigan -- into a public land treasure.

This silver anniversary is a good time to pause and appreciate the various roles of residents, local/state/federal elected officials, Trust for Public Land, Forest Service employees, Advisory Committee members,   volunteers, Hiawatha Interpretive Association, visitors, and numerous other individuals and partner organizations that have supported the Grand Island National Recreation Area in so many ways over the years.   Such a great example of teamwork serving a variety of interests. One and all:  Thank you!

Congressional Purpose for Grand Island NRA

...to preserve and protect for present and future generations the outstanding resources and values of Grand Island … for the purposes of providing for the conservation, protection and enhancement of its scenery, recreation, fish and wildlife, vegetation and historical and cultural resources, there is hereby established the Grand Island National Recreation Area … These resources and values include, but are not limited to, cliffs, caves, beaches, forested appearance, natural biological diversity and features of early settlement.

Since the designation, the efforts of many have come together in order to bring the public's vision to life. If you plan a visit to Michigan’s Central Upper Peninsula, we hope you will think of your visit as a celebration of this collective effort!  If you aren't planning a visit this year, consider visiting a local park on August 8th instead -- as an alternative way to appreciate the benefits of public lands!