At the northernmost tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, stunted shrubs and trees cling to ancient bedrock directly in the path of Lake Superior’s fierce winds. The 1,261 acre Mary Macdonald Preserve at Horseshoe Harbor is the largest and highest quality mainland preserve for bedrock beach and bedrock glade communities in Michigan. The rock ridges that define the shoreline are wave-eroded edges of sedimentary conglomerate rock uplifted some 600 million years ago. They now create a barrier between the pounding wind and waves of Lake Superior and the woodlands behind them, protecting and allowing the emergence of slower growth plant species.
Only the hardiest plants can withstand constant exposure to the lake’s winds and waves. The bedrock beach mostly supports lichens, which dominate this rare ecosystem. In the damp depressions between the rocks, a variety of shrubs, herbs and sedges grow.
Just inland from the bedrock beach, a boreal forest thrives in the cool, moist climate. Balsam fir, white cedar, white spruce, and white birch shelter species such as the black bear, snowshoe hare, peregrine falcon, ruffed grouse, golden-crowned kinglet, black-throated green warbler and yellow-rumped warbler.
- Hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing
- Bird watching, nature study and photography
- Kayaks and canoes are permitted on Lake Superior. Vessels must be carried from the parking area.
- Research projects and educational studies with approved permit
- Hunting with a Conservancy-issued permit for whitetail deer
- No rock climbing and rappelling
- No motorized and non-motorized vehicles
- No building of new trails
- No pets
- No hunting or trapping without a Conservancy-issued permit
- No removal of plants or animals (alive or dead)
- No removal of rocks, water, or other non-organic materials
- No camping, bonfires, fireworks, or other fires
- No firewood collecting
- No littering
Note: Not all sections of each trail are approved for every activity listed for the trail as a whole. Please click on individual trail sections to see approved activities for that section.
|ADD INFO:||Send Email|