Headlands, The, an International Dark Sky Park

The Headlands was established in the late 1950s when Roger McCormick hired a helicopter and dropped 50lb. sacks of flour to mark the boundaries of a property he desired to purchase.

The Park contains approximately 550 acres of pristine woodlands, more than two miles of undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline and many species of rare and endangered plant life. Visitors to the Headlands may experience sightings of the many wild animals native to the area including: bald eagles, osprey, white tail deer, wild turkeys, coyotes and occasionally a black bear. Marked nature trails guide hikers, bicyclists, cross-country skiers, and nature photographers to experience the park throughout the changing seasons.

The Headlands offers two facilities for rental by the public. The Guest House provides accommodations for 22 people in four bedrooms on three levels. There are 3 floors with 3 full baths (one per floor), a complete kitchen and a conference area. Linens are provided. the Waterfront Event Center is available for rent as well, with information available on the “About” tab.

The vision and cooperation of the following organizations and government units made this property available to the public: The McCormick Foundation, The Village of Mackinaw City, Emmet County, The Schott Foundation, The Little Traverse Conservancy, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Becoming an International Dark Sky Park

The Headlands became one of the first 10 International Dark Sky Parks in the world in 2011, a prestigious designation bestowed by the International Dark Sky Association in Tucson, Arizona, after a rigorous application and review process. What it means in a nutshell? The Headlands will stay dark and protected, forever, thanks to a commitment by the Emmet County Board of Commissioners.

7725 E. Wilderness Park Dr.
Mackinaw City, MI 49701 

Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park

Visitors can witness the power of the creek harnessed to cut timber into lumber at one of the oldest industrial sites on the Upper Great Lakes and soar like an eagle on the zip line during the Adventure Tour. Enjoy a climbing wall, stunning vistas, and miles of interpretive hiking trails with fun interactive displays.

Mackinac Island State Park

Mackinac Island State Park was established in 1895. For twenty years before that it had been Mackinac National Park, the United States’ second national park. Today, over eighty percent of Mackinac Island is State Park property, and most of this park land remains in its natural condition to be enjoyed. A great variety of historic and natural resources provides something of interest for every Mackinac Island visitor. Historic landmarks, breathtaking vistas, spectacular rock formations, quiet forests and inspiring nature trails are just minutes away. The sites are accessible by foot or bike, rented horse or buggy, sightseeing carriages or horse-drawn taxi.

Top of Michigan Trails Council

Beginning in early 1994 and into the spring of 1995 Horace “Huffy” Huffman and Tom Bailey (both of the Little Traverse Conservancy) discussed between themselves, and later with other like minded individuals, the concept and need for a vehicle to coordinate and bring together numerous trail user groups in Emmet, Charlevoix and Cheboygan counties. Huffman and Bailey recognized a lack of overall coordination, direction and planning of recreational trail activity in Northern Lower Michigan to meet the demands of an expanding population and the rapid growth of tourism to the area.

The Mission

Huffman and Bailey already had pretty well established in their minds in rough form what the mission of the yet to be created organization should be. Various drafts were considered, reworked and finally set forth:

The Mission of the….(organization)…. is to facilitate the establishment of a multi-use, year ‘round, safe recreational trail system in Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties.

This mission statement has been amended to include the terms “advocate for”, maintenance, and to delineate our geographical area as Northern Michigan.

1687 M-119
Petoskey, MI 49770