MARQUETTE - A french phrase, "Presque Isle" means "almost an island." It describes this natural wonderland perfectly.
This Marquette park and landmark is much more than just a small peninsula. Jutting out into Lake Superior, Presque Isle Park offers many types of activities to all kinds people.
Presque Isle itself has 323 acres of the most beautiful and picturesque landscapes in the city of Marquette. Most of this acreage is undeveloped woodland.
A view of Presque Isle from the breakwall. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
Black Rocks (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
A view of a portion of Presque Isle rocky shoreline can be seen from the lookout. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
A set of wooden stairs leads down a small hill to the Presque Isle gazebo. Many people rent the gazebo to be used for wedding ceremonies from spring to autumn. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
A hairy woodpecker sits in a tree looking for insects along a hiking trail at Presque Isle Park in Marquette Wednesday. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
This granite boulder marks the burial site of Charles Kawbawgam, the last chief of the Marquette Chippewa Native American tribe. He and members of his tribe lived on the isle long before the first settlers arrived in Marquette. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
The island offers a shoreline of more than two miles with some of the oldest exposed rock formations in the world.
The wooded areas are filled with variety a of trees such as white birch, maple and ironwood along with a number of species of pine.
A road, Peter White Drive, runs around the park allowing access to many of the natural attractions.
This one-way road is open to motorists, foot traffic, and bicycling and follows the perimeter of the park.
There are many turnouts along the road allowing people to get out of their vehicles and observe many of the scenic views.
In addition to the road there are more than six miles of trails that wend through the woods. Along these trails a hiker has a chance to view a variety of wildlife including deer, chipmunks, squirrels, a number of species of songbirds and an occasional woodpecker.
On the northern side of the park there is a 500-million-year-old lava flow called black rocks. This is a popular place to test your courage as many people travel to this area to jump off into the cool waters of Lake Superior on calm hot summer days.
The Presque Isle Bog is another attraction for many. This habitat is home to more than 100 native plant species which in turn provide habitat to a number of bird species. By taking the park's Bog Walk Trail, an observer can have an up-close look at the specially adapted plants that inhabit this unique type of wetland.
In addition to undeveloped areas of the park there are 15 acres that have been developed. This includes an indoor/outdoor pavilion which hosts a number of events from wedding receptions to community functions.
There is a bandshell that hosts a number of concerts and performances throughout the year. And a beautiful wooded gazebo is located on the south side of the park. This gazebo is in a wooded area close to Lake Superior and is a prime spot to hold wedding ceremonies.
A large playground area with swings, slides and a lion's mouth drinking fountain is a great place to let the kids play. There are a number of picnic areas found throughout the park - some equipped with a small grill and picnic benches. A 97-slip marina with a boat launch can be found near the main entrance of the park.
Presque Isle Park has a lot to offer and, as it's only a short distance from Downtown Marquette, there really isn't anything to stop anyone from taking a visit to this natural wonderland.
Andy Nelson-Zaleski can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 256. His e-mail address is email@example.com.