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Presque Isle Park

1 Peter White Dr, Marquette, United States
Sports & Recreation
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Description

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As Marquette's recreational crown jewel, special attention is given here to Presque Isle Park. The popular regional facility is located on Presque Isle ("almost" an island), a 323 acre forested oval shaped headland/peninsula which juts into Lake Superior in the northern tip of the City. Presque Isle is known throughout the United States for its natural beauty

The "Island", as it is referred to by locals, has had many visitors starting with the prehistoric people 3,000 to 7,000 years ago. Early residents of Marquette traveled there by boat since there was no bridge over the Dead River. Originally it was designated as a government lighthouse reservation. Through the efforts of Peter White, a bill was passed on July 12, 1886, by the United States Congress deeding the Island to the City of Marquette. White built a road from the City to the park and planted the tall Lombardy Poplar trees which line Lakeshore Boulevard. Today, Presque Isle Park is Marquette's most beloved attraction, offering residents year-round outdoor recreation, serene settings for nature observation and education, and cultural experiences.

Situated at the end of Lakeshore Boulevard, the showcase park is easily accessible by either the bike path or automobile. The park supports over 100 species of native plants and diverse landscapes including pebble beaches, rocky cliffs, bogs, and forest. Major facilities at the island include two picnic areas, concession facilities (the Island Store), hiking trails, playground facilities, three drinking fountains, grassy open areas, a historic wood band shell for concerts, two sets of restrooms (serving each picnic area), two open air park shelters, and a custom designed timber gazebo.


The two major picnic areas are well supplied with picnic tables and cooking facilities. The larger of the two, located on the south east side of the park, contains a playground area with merry-go-round, swings, slide, and climbing apparatus. The park also contains numerous park benches. A new stone and log pavilion was constructed in 1999 to replace an old structure that was razed in 1986. The building contains a kitchen, interior meeting rooms, storage areas, restrooms, a 1400 square foot deck, and large interior open area designed for community events, small receptions and other gatherings. The approximately $200,000 project was funded to a large extent by donations and in-kind services and a loan by the City of Marquette. Presque Isle is also the site of the City owned 97 slip Presque Isle Marina as well as the Upper Harbor lighthouse and a long breakwater (or "breakwall".)

The park is served by a number of foot trails. There is also the narrow outer perimeter Peter White Drive which winds its way round the Island. The scenic roadway was improved and repaved in 1999. Turnouts are provided at intervals for those wishing to stop and travel by foot on a portion, or simply enjoy the scenery.  The eastern coastline, filled with coves and ancient rock outcroppings, is best viewed from the outlook platform just north of the graves of Charlie Kawbawgam, the last chief of the local Chippewas, and his wife, Charlotte. Another attraction on Presque Isle Park is the white-tailed deer. This free-roaming band at times contains albino deer whose snowy-white coat dramatically contrasts with the typical brown coloring of the species. In recent years, because of artificially provided food by park visitors and lack of predation and hunting, overpopulation of the deer, raccoons, and Canadian geese have required culling, removal, and other measures to prevent over browsing and waste accumulation.

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