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Winter Feels Good in the Forest!

Plans are underway for the seventh annual National Winter Trails Day event at the Rapid River National Ski Trail on Saturday, January 21st from noon until 4:00 p.m.  Winter doesn’t have to be a time of year when you feel like you are trapped inside.  National Winter Trails Day is designed to encourage people of all ages to get outdoors and enjoy winter! 

National Winter Trails Day event at the Rapid River National Ski Trail

 Thanks to a long-standing partnership between Brampton Bike and Ski, Entrees Etc., numerous ski trail volunteers, and the Hiawatha National Forest, cross country skis and snowshoes will be available free of charge for the public to use from noon until 4:00 p.m. on January 21st.   Mike Williams of Brampton Bike and Ski will provide cross country skis, boots and poles as well as snowshoes for children and adults.

Volunteers who groom the ski trail during the winter will be on hand to outfit everyone with the proper gear and to teach the fundamentals of both skiing and snowshoeing.  To ensure that adequate equipment and instructors are on hand, please pre-register for the event by calling Brampton Bike and Ski no later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday, January 20th at 906-428-2135.  In addition, Mary Malnor of Entrees Etc. will be on-hand with hot drinks, steaming soup, and a blazing bonfire, so everyone is guaranteed to stay toasty!

Group of Skiiers at the National Winter Trails Day at the Rapid River Ski Trail near Escanaba, MI

This local event is one of 100 events across the country and one of only two events in the Upper Peninsula.

The Rapid River National Ski Trail is located 6 miles north of Rapid River on US Highway 41. For more information, call the Hiawatha National Forest at 906-474-6442.

Predator Quest’s Les Johnson Returns to Trappers Convention

World Champion predator caller Les Johnson will be on hand at the 54th Annual Trappers Convention/Outdoor Expo.  Les hails from Nebraska where he grew up spending every minute he could trapping, hunting and fishing. His love of the outdoor sports led him to become probably the best predator caller in the world. His accomplishments in the predator calling arena are many. He won the Calling Triple Crown in 1999, and in one 15 year stretch, he placed in at least 26 calling competitions (many of them 1st place). He has been named Sportsman of the Year several times as well. “Les has been here before and is always a big hit,” said Convention Coordinator Roy Dahlgren.

Les JohnsonLes has produced action packed videos of his hunts and his TV show Predator Quest, on the Sportsman’s Channel, and has won numerous awards including “Viewer Favorite Hunting Show.” Les will be doing a predator calling demo each day of the convention.

Along with Johnson, many other famous experts will be doing demos throughout the two days.  Steve Gappa, Lesel Reuwsaat, Harry Nestell, Greg Schroeder, John Chagnon and Richard Clark are all in the demo lineup.

In February, we had nearly 150 youngsters attend our annual Trappers Workshop, showing that many youngsters have a strong interest in trapping. “Having all the experts here sharing their knowledge and methods is one super opportunity for the kids and even us “old-timers” to gain valuable insight into the outdoor sports,” stated Jim Fornetti longtime member of U.P. Trappers.

Event Details

The Expo will be held at the U.P. State Fairgrounds in Escanaba Michigan on July 15 & 16, 2016. Hours will be: Friday 8:00 a.m. – 6: 00 p.m. and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (EST).

There will be many activities for the kids along with many items of interest to the ladies. Hundreds of vendors and tailgaters (trap dealers, hunting, fishing, guns, knives, quilters, crafters etc.) will be there offering convention special prices on their wares.  Food and refreshments will be available on the grounds throughout the event. Attendees also wont want to miss the dance on Friday Evening.

Further information may be obtained by contacting Roy Dahlgren (906) 399-1960; trapperroy@outlook.com, or by visiting www.uptrappers.com.

Forest Service Celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the Peninsula Point Lighthouse!

 Peninsula Point Lighthouse, a historic site within the Hiawatha National Forest, is a great destination for the entire family to explore. Located at the tip of Lake Michigan’s Stonington Peninsula, you’ll find limestone shorelines yielding 500 million year old fossils to comb, more than 200 different species of birds to identify, droves of late summer monarch butterflies on the move, and – of course – great picnicking opportunities. The lighthouse is open to public viewing and offer’s spectacular panoramic vistas of Lake Michigan.

The Blue Water Ramblers, a folk music band that has been performing around the Great Lakes region for over 30 years, will be performing at the 150th Anniversary celebration of the Peninsula Point Lighthouse on Saturday, August 18th.  They will offer two hour-long maritime performances:  one at 1:00 and a second at 3:00.

The Blue Water Ramblers, a folk music band that has been performing around the Great Lakes region for over 30 years, will be performing at the 150th Anniversary celebration of the Peninsula Point Lighthouse on Saturday, August 18th. They will offer two hour-long maritime performances: one at 1:00 and a second at 3:00.

In addition to the usual fun at Peninsula Point, the Hiawatha National Forest will be offering extra incentives for visitation on July 18th during a 150th anniversary event!  Enjoy Great Lakes folk music celebrating this region’s rich cultural heritage by the Blue Water Ramblers and join Forest Service staff as they bring to life the Point’s natural and historical resources through engaging and interactive programs.  The entire event is free to the public.

 The celebration begins at 1:00pm on July 18th and festivities continue until approximately 4:30pm.  Folks are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. 

 

This file photo shows what the Peninsula Point Lighthouse looked like prior to the 1959 fire that burned the attached lighthouse keeper’s dwelling.  Now all that remains of the lighthouse is the brick tower.  The Forest Service will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the lighthouse on Saturday, July 18th from 1 to 4:00 PM.

This file photo shows what the Peninsula Point Lighthouse looked like prior to the 1959 fire that burned the attached lighthouse keeper’s dwelling. Now all that remains of the lighthouse is the brick tower. The Forest Service will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the lighthouse on Saturday, July 18th from 1 to 4:00 PM.

From 1866 until 1936 the Peninsula Point Lighthouse served a critical role in safely bringing in ships teeming with fish, lumber, iron ore and other products to the communities of Escanaba, Gladstone, Fayette and Nahma. In 1937 the United States Forest Service was granted custodianship of Peninsula Point Lighthouse and shortly following, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed picnic grounds on site for public use. Thanks to many dedicated individuals and user groups the Peninsula Point Lighthouse stands today as a monument to this region’s steadfastness and tenacious ability to overcome adversity.

The 40 foot brick tower is all that remains of the Peninsula Point lighthouse today.  Visitors are welcome to climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower to take in the panoramic view of Lake Michigan. Be sure to bring your camera and a picnic lunch!  The Forest Service will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the lighthouse on Saturday, July 18th from 1 to 4:00 PM.

The 40 foot brick tower is all that remains of the Peninsula Point lighthouse today. Visitors are welcome to climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower to take in the panoramic view of Lake Michigan. Be sure to bring your camera and a picnic lunch! The Forest Service will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the lighthouse on Saturday, July 18th from 1 to 4:00 PM.

To get to Peninsula Point from Rapid River drive 2.4 miles east on US-2 to County Road 513 turn right (southwest) on CR 513 and drive 17 miles to the RV parking lot. Please note that the last 0.8 mile road to the lighthouse is single lane, narrow and winding, and is NOT recommended for recreational vehicles or trailers over 16 feet long or 8 feet high. Pull-offs have been provided in case you meet on-coming traffic. A parking area for larger vehicles can be found at the beginning of the final mile of road, and folks are welcome to walk the interpretive trail to the lighthouse or walk the road.

For additional information, please contact Anne Okonek at the Forest Service office in Rapid River at 906-280-4135.

 

Walleye Fishing on Bay de Noc, Lake Michigan

Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit Returns To Bays de Noc July 31-Aug. 1

World-class walleye fishing on the Bays de Noc

A high-stakes, big-water walleye fishing battle of epic proportions will break out when the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit returns to the world-class waters of Little Bay de Noc out of Escanaba, Michigan, for a regular-season qualifier July 31-August 1.

Judging by past tournament results, the upcoming Cabela’s MWC qualifier should yield great fishing and more than a few behemoth baskets. For example, when the Circuit visited Escanaba in 2011 for a regular-season event combined with the Cabela’s NTC, it took more than 30 pounds per day to claim the crown. Circuit vets Korey Sprengel and Derek Navis eventually claimed top honors with a 64.41-pound, 10-fish limit. Thanks to the Circuit’s lucrative payback program, Sprengel and Navis earned more than $20,000 for their MWC victory in cash and sponsor contingencies.

Payouts are based on the number of teams entered in each event. In 2014 the Circuit rewarded anglers with a total payback of more than 127 percent, and that trend continues this season. Plus, the MWC Big Fish Pot and sponsor bonuses from Ranger, Lowrance, Abu Garcia, Zippo Outdoor Brands and Okuma add thousands more to the total.

As an added incentive, the first-place team will win a $1,000 Cabela’s National Team Championship Prize Package including paid NTC entry, travel stipend, team jerseys and plaques. And new for 2015, the creation of an option pot adds even more chances to cash in. At the recent Petenwell Lake qualifier, for example, tournament champions Barb and Danny Plautz added $2,730 in option pot cash to their total winnings.

Adding to the excitement, all Cabela’s MWC tournaments are designated as “State Championship Qualifying Events.” Teams from the state where the event is held are eligible, along with teams from a state not hosting an MWC event in 2015 (provided at least 10 teams from their state are competing in the event). Besides bragging rights, state champions will earn a $1,000 prize package including custom trophies, custom State Champions rings by Tight Lines Jewelry, decals, a berth in the Cabela’s NTC, and a spot on the MWC website’s Wall of Fame. In states hosting two events, teams must fish both tournaments to be in the running, which means Michigan teams must have fished the Detroit River qualifier along with the Bays de Noc event for a shot at the state title.

Teams will be allowed to weigh five walleyes measuring 15 inches and over each day, and the team with the heaviest two-day total weight will be crowned the winners. Weigh-ins, which are free and open to the public, will be held at Gladstone Harbor beginning at 3 p.m. daily. As a bonus to budding tournament fans, the Cabela’s MWC, National Professional Anglers Association, Pure Fishing and Zippo Outdoor Brands will present a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic immediately after the day-one weigh-in. The first 50 youths will receive rod and reel combos courtesy of the NPAA.

Under the umbrella of The Walleye Federation (TWF), the Cabela’s MWC is open to avid walleye anglers from all walks of life. Deadline to register for the Bays de Noc tournament is Monday, July 27th.

Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is in its 14th season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors include: Berkley Gulp!, Abu Garcia, Lowe Equipment Attachments, Lowrance Electronics, Mercury Marine, Ranger Boats, The Walleye Federation and Zippo Outdoor Brands. Associate sponsors include: Yellow Bird Fishing Products, Okuma, T-H Marine and Tight Lines Jewelry. For more information, visit masterswalleyecircuit.com, email info@masterswalleyecircuit.com, or call (580) 765-9031.

Fourth of July Festivities

Delta county is a great place to celebrate the Fourth of July! Check out some of the exciting festivities happening around the county over the weekend!

Escanaba

The Independence Day Celebration in Escanaba will kick off in Ludington Park with childrens games and rides, public safety demonstrations, your favorite summertime foods. The night will progress with a city band performance at Karas Band Shell beginning at 8:30pm. Following the performance the magnificent fireworks display at dusk will begin at approximately 10:15

Festivities will resume on Saturday with a Rock the Dock concert performance at the Municipal Dock. The event will take place from 5-10pm and include a bounce house, dunk tank, obstacle course, National Guard, food vendors, beer tent, and music by Cadillacs Band.

Gladstone

The Independence Day Celebration in Gladstone will begin at in Van Cleve Park with the annual Kiwanis Firecracker Run/Walk at 8am. The Super Hero themed parade will begin at 11am. Following the parade festivities in the park include, Ultimate Air Dogs show, apple pie bake off, inflatable jumpers, kids games & vendors. Live entertainment in the afternoon will include the Remnants Choir at 3pm and a performance from Taylor made Band beginning at 7. Wrapping up the day will a magnificent fireworks display at dusk. 

Festivities will conclude on Saturday at noon with Ultimate Air Dogs, Inflatable Jumpers, Kids Games & Vendors. New this year is a Taste of the Red, White and Brew Event. The event will include wine & beer sampling from 6:30-9:30pm and music by Milestone Jazz Trio. Tickets are $10 per person.

The Village of Garden
Saturday, July 5th, 2014

The village of Garden will be celebrating Independence day on July 5th hosted by the Garden Old Timers and Garden American Legion Post 545. A parade will be held with the theme, “Red, White & Blue…We Will Fight For You”. The days festivities will include: games, bounce houses, petting zoo, pony rides, nail pounding contest, lumberjack competition, “Crappin” chickens bingo and a free throw competition.  Visitors can also enjoy raffles, food vendors and a beer tent, wood carvings by Chad Denkins, an auction starting at 2pm, and free fun for kids at 5pm.  Live entertainment will be provided by Patrick Maloney, Brandon Hopp, Ben Peterson, Rick Rissman, and Diamond & Gold.  Fireworks show will begin at dusk.

Bark River

Visit Bark River for an old fashioned Fourth of July celebration complete with food, refreshments, games, and family fun. The independence day celebration will begin at 11am from Ray’s Feed Mill to Bark River Sports Park, with a 50/50 Raffle held before the parade. Afternoon festivities include a community wide picnic, children’s games put on by area charities and non-profit organizations. Enjoy live entertainment by the band Heartland Express from 1pm-5pm.  Firework show will begin at dusk.
Sponsored by the Bark River Lions Club.

For more information on upcoming events check out the community events calendar at www.deltami.org

Paddle the Ford River – CR 414 to US 2&41

Delta County’s Ford river makes for an easy, scenic paddle in either a kayak or canoe. According to the book Paddling Michigan (A Falcon Guide, 2001), it’s best paddled in May through Early June and October, and based on my experience I’d say that’s pretty accurate.

I’ve been driving past the Ford for years, but only recently picked up kayaking and thought it might be fun to paddle. Sure enough, the Ford was listed as one of the few Upper Peninsula routes in the book. So, my dad and I recently packed up the kayaks and set out to paddle the Ford.

The Take Out

Let’s start with the take out, since that’s were you park the first car, right? One of the great things about the Ford is you’ve got quite a few options for taking out, but for this trip my dad and I opted to park at the US 2 & 41 bridge between Escanaba and Bark River. There’s plentiful parking here, and the parking area extends to right below the bridge, so you can drive right down to the water’s edge and grab your canoe or kayak when you’re done.

ford river kayak escanaba michigan1

The Ford River bridge at U.S. 2 & 41 has ample parking and served as our take out for this trip.

Here's a view of that same bridge from the river, at the end of our trip.

Here’s a view of that same bridge from the river, at the end of our trip.

 Another option for taking out is the M-35 bridge at the river’s mouth, but I’ll cover that section of river in another post.

The Put In

Though there are also a few options for putting in, most paddlers (us included) put in at the County Road 414 bridge just a few miles north of US 2 & 41. (See below for full directions.) There was ample parking space here a few hundred feet away from the bridge along with a good temporary parking spot right next to the bridge where we were able to unload our kayaks.

The Paddle

The Ford’s water moves swiftly beneath the CR 414 bridge, which made a great start for our paddle. After a while, the river’s pace slowed down in spots, but always picked back up again as the bottom changed from sand to bedrock and the river narrowed in spots. It was a great mix and ended up taking us about two and a half hours to float, with minimal paddling, from the CR 414 bridge to to the US 2 & 41 bridge.

The Ford started out beautiful and didn't let us down.

The Ford started out beautiful and didn’t let us down.

I’d highly recommend this relatively unheralded section of the Ford for both kayakers and canoeists looking for a great spring to early summer Paddle in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Directions:

Just a short distance west of the US 2 & 41 bridge over the Ford (toward Bark River), turn north onto county road 533 and drive roughly four miles to county road 414. Turn west (left) onto county road 414 and drive about a mile to the bridge. Drop your boats off at the bridge and then park in the parking area a few hundred feet before the bridge. The U.S. & 41 bridge (where we took out on this paddle) is located about 5.5 miles west of Escanaba.

 

Escanaba is Pure Michigan Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Rick Elrod – Bays de Noc Convention and Visitors Bureau
906-789-7862 | bays@deltami.org

Escanaba is Pure Michigan

Escanaba, Michigan – In an effort to increase tourism interest in Delta County, the Bays de Noc Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has teamed up with MEDC/Travel Michigan to create an advertising campaign for Escanaba as part of the State’s ongoing Pure Michigan campaign.
As the state of Michigan’s tourism marketing organization, MEDC/Travel Michigan launched the Pure Michigan campaign in 2006. With ads featuring commonly themed music and the voice of Actor Tim Allen, a Michigan native, the campaign has become one of the most successful state marketing campaigns in the country.

With a budget of $120,000, half of which was paid by the Bays de Noc Convention and Visitors Bureau, and half matched by the State, the campaign will include a one minute radio advertisement, digital advertising and an Escanaba hot-spot page on the Pure Michigan web site http://www.michigan.org/hot-spots/escanaba/.

Refuel is the theme of the advertisement, focusing on the assets of the Escanaba area and Delta County. The ad highlights the importance of abundant natural resources of the county and the small town vibe of Escanaba, by suggesting,

“…when the road of life gets a little rough, we also need to refuel. Refuel our minds. Refuel our friendships. And there’s no better place to renew ourselves than Escanaba.”

During the brand identity development process of creating the ad, representatives from Travel Michigan spent a few days touring Escanaba and Delta County. “The Escanaba area is a natural paradise with its three peninsulas each offering a unique discovery, miles of trails and world-class fishing. With welcoming towns that offer local flavor and historic sites that share its rich history. Our Pure Michigan/Escanaba area partnership campaign will tell that story,” said Ken Yarsevich, Advertising Specialist for MEDC/Travel Michigan.

Based on research conducted by D.K. Shifflet, the leading U.S. travel research firm contracted by MEDC/Travel Michigan, the 60 second radio ad will be aired in the suggested target markets of: Traverse City and Milwaukee, beginning May 12th and will run through August 17th. The campaign will carry through the fall season in the Milwaukee market as well.

In addition to the Pure Michigan campaign, the CVB has just completed a website redesign. Formerly travelbaysdenoc.com, the new site is now VisitEscanaba.com. Although the CVB represents member businesses throughout the county, keyword research indicated that potential visitors search the term “Escanaba” approximately 10 times more often than “Bays de Noc” or “Delta County”. The results of this research along with advice from Travel Michigan suggested the change of the web URL in order to increase web traffic.

Gary Micheau, Board President of the Bays de Noc CVB, stated,” We are excited to be a part of such a great state campaign and looking forward to an increase in overnight stays in our area as a result of our investment with Pure Michigan.”

For more information go to www.VisitEscanaba.com, or call 906-789-7862.

 

The Escanaba Pathway Snowshoe Trail

Escanaba snowshoe trail

The entry to the snowshoe trail is shown here to the right.

I’ve written about cross country skiing on the Escanaba Pathway trails, but the Escanaba pathway trails also boast a dedicated snowshoe trail.

The 1.6 mile long snowshoeing trail begins on the right side of the ski trail about 100 feet from the parking lot off North 30th street. It’s a single track trail that (roughly) follows North 30th street for a while before looping away from North 30th, through a tall stand of pines and then back along North 30th to the trailhead.

The trail is well marked with blue diamonds to help keep you on track. Although, due to a good amount of use it’s likely that the trail will also be very packed down. Possibly to the point where snowshoes are’t needed, depending on how much snow has recently fallen, of course.

My Experience on the Escanaba Pathway Snowshoe Trail

escanaba mi snowshoe trail3I visited the snowshoe trail in early March, after a winter of activity. It was really packed down, to the point where I didn’t need snowshoes, but I wore them anyway just in case. I have to say, it was really nice to be able to snowshoe on a dedicated trail as opposed to either walking on the cross country ski trail or blazing a brand new path through deep snow off in the woods somewhere.

I hiked the completed snowshoe trail from start to finish but noticed that there was an area labeled “under construction,” so I’ll look into that and write about it more in the future. Hopefully we’ll be getting some additional lengths of snowshoe trail!

Due to it’s proximity to North 30th street, the snowshoe trail isn’t quite as peaceful as the secluded cross country ski trails, but nonetheless it was still nice to get out for a good winter trek. Next time I’ll just bring my iPod and listen to some of my favorite music as I walk through the woods. I stopped plenty of time to take photos and it took me about forty five minutes to walk the loop.

All and all, the Escanaba Pathway snowshoe trail is a great little loop and I’ll definitely be back.

Looking for place to stay in the Escanaba area? Check out the Places to Stay page for a full list of area lodging options.

– Written by Jesse Land of Things to do in the U.P. on behalf of Visit Escanaba.

Stone Cup Coffeehouse & Stone’s Deli

Stone’s Deli – Great Food. Cool Space.

stone cup coffee and stones deli escanaba michigan2The Stone Cup Coffeehouse and Stone  ’s Deli in Escanaba, Michigan is great deli located right in downtown Escanaba. Owned by local residents Jim and Rachel Stone, they sell a wide variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts, coffee and more.

From the outside, Stone’s appears to be two separate businesses. At least that’s what I thought when I first saw the building. I never guessed what was inside.

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Ski the Escanaba Pathway Cross Country Ski Trails

escanaba pathway cross country ski trail3A Little About the Escanaba Pathway

The Escanaba Pathway cross country ski (and snowshoe) trails are right in Escanaba, but feel like they’re deep in the woods. The trails are made up of three main loops. Loop # 1 is 4.2 miles, loop # 2 is 1.7 miles, and loop # 3 is .74 miles.

The sign at the trailhead breaks down the loops like this:

Loop #1 – 4.2 miles (6.77 kilometers)

Loop #1 & #2 – 5.2 miles (9.52 kilometers)

Loop #1, #2 & #3 – 6.6 miles (10.65 kilometers)

However, there’s also a smaller “unofficial” loop that starts at the parking area and makes up part of “loop # 1.” This small loop is mostly flat, beginner friendly and is about two miles long. Let’s call it the “mini loop.”

The trailhead for the Escanaba Pathway trails is right off North 30th street in Escanaba, about .35 miles from US Highway 41. North 30th is a busy street, but as soon as you get away from the parking area, the sound of cars whizzing by is quickly replaced by the quiet of the woods.

My Experience at the Escanaba Pathway (Skiing the “Mini Loop”)

My stepson wanted to try cross-country skiing, and I wanted to pick it back up. So, we rented some skis and ventured out to the Escanaba Pathway. Being that it was his first time cross country skiing and my first time out in well over a decade, I wanted to pick an easily accessible trail with a short loop. The trail we picked turned out to be perfect.

escanaba pathway cross country ski trail1We skied the “mini loop” that’s part of the official “loop # 1.” The mini loop is mostly flat, though it does have a couple easy uphill climbs and, subsequently, fun little downhill runs. I don’t think this loop could have been more perfect for our first time out. It was easy, scenic and fun.

The day we were out on the trail the temperature was a few degrees below zero and the wind chill brought it down to negative twenty. We were dressed for the cold, but the sheltered nature of the Escanaba Pathway trails was a really nice surprise. At least on the mini loop, we were only exposed to the wind once or twice, and even then for just a few seconds. It ended up being really comfortable in spite of the chilly temps.

And though the trails were good for us beginners, I can see how they’d be great for someone of a higher skill level as well. With almost seven miles of trails to ski, I’m sure those with more experience (and better form) would really enjoy it.

Trail Conditions

escanaba pathway cross country ski trail2The Escanaba Pathway trails were groomed beautifully. The “two track” ruts were packed down and clear of obstructions the whole way and there was no “tampering” with the tracks. That is to say that anyone who was walking or snowshoeing on the trails did so well away from the groomed area. I look forward to hitting the Escanaba Pathway trails again soon to ski the rest of the loops!

How to get there:

Turn onto North 30th street from US 41 (you’ll be heading north) and drive .35 miles. Turn left into the small parking area. A green sign that reads “City of Escanaba Recreational Non-Motorized Vehicle Pathway” marks the spot.

– Written by Jesse Land of Things to do in the U.P. for the Bays de Noc Visitor’s Bureau.