We are in a state of emergency with executive orders to stay home, stay safe and flatten the curve.
Four weeks is a long time to stay indoors, especially for the little ones…
Thankfully, section 7. a. 1. of * Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order states we may “engage in outdoor activity”.
“Individuals may leave their home or place of residence, and travel as necessary:
To engage in outdoor activity, including walking, hiking, running, cycling, or any other recreational activity consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household.”
To observe greater safety distances, avoid the “slipstream” of bikers and runners ahead of you. According to studies conducted by the KU Leuven University of Belgium and TU Eindhoven of Netherlands, the advised distance for a single line of people moving in the same direction should be at least 4–5 meters (approximately 16 feet). For runner and slow bikers it should be 10 meters (approximately 33 feet) and for hard biking at least 20 meters (approximately 66 feet). This distance allow for droplets from any sneezes or coughs to dissipate.
Luckily, according to the Muskegon Area-Wide Plan, we have 337,088 acres of land in Muskegon County. Of that, nearly 162,200 acres (48 percent) is forested land. An additional 27 percent is for agricultural or open space use.
All this outdoor area makes it easy to head outside for fresh air and fantastic views, while still practicing social distancing. There’s plenty of room at our three state parks, six county parks, 34 City of Muskegon Parks , 8 City of Norton Shores Parks, 7 Public Parks in the White Lake Area and dozens more throughout the County.
PLEASE NOTE: While Muskegon Parks are still OPEN for outdoor activity; for health and safety reasons please DO NOT USE the playground equipment at this time.
Solitude in State Parks
Passport NOT required (But safe social distancing is!) The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has temporarily suspended Recreation Passports to enter Michigan state parks. Be SURE to practice your safe-six-foot distance from other guests. The Michigan Department of National Resources website clearly warns “If it becomes evident that people are not practicing effective social distancing while visiting these state-managed resources, we will close them to protect the health of our visitors and our staff.”
Our three state parks include:
Duck Lake State Park – 728 acres stretching from the northern shore of Duck Lake to Lake Michigan. A paved path provides a pleasant stroll through the woods and along the Duck Lake shoreline.
Hoffmaster State Park – The state park includes 1,200 acres of land featuring forest-covered dunes along three miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. There are 10 miles of scenic hiking trails.
Muskegon State Park – The park’s 1,233 acres include two miles of Lake Michigan and one mile of Muskegon Lake beach. The park offers twelve miles of hiking trails.
A Country Mile in County Parks
Muskegon County Parks Department offers six pleasant park options. The parks are located along Lake Michigan, inland lakes and picturesque waterways. These six County Parks include:
Blue Lake County Park – This 25-acre park boasts nearly 600 feet of water frontage along the southeast shore of Big Blue Lake.
Meinert Park – The 182 acre park provides rolling dunes and scenic overlooks offering spectacular views of Little Flower Creek and the Lake Michigan shoreline. Visitors can climb a trail to the top of a dune for a panoramic view of lake Michigan and the surrounding countryside.
Moore Park – This Park is 36 acres of hills, woodlands, wetlands and grassy open areas with a 1,500-foot shoreline along Half Moon Lake.
Patterson Park – Enjoy walking the riverbank on 28 acres of river flood plain with overlook decks and wooded and open areas.
Pioneer Park – 145 acres boasting overlook decks and stair access that guides you to over 2,000 feet of beach frontage.
Twin Lake Park – A15 acre park with 800 feet of Twin Lake water frontage.
Room to Breath on the Beach
Muskegon’s Lake Michigan shoreline features 26 miles of beach, including nationally-certified clean beach; Pere Marquette Park. Don’t forget a passport is not required to visit PJ Hoffmaster State Park Beach until restrictions are lifted.
Barrier free access to beaches can be found via walkway ramps at *Kruse Park, Pere Marquette Beach and Muskegon State Park. Muskegon State Park barrier free access includes passage to Lost Lake. The Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center features a barrier-free walkway overlooking the valley and dunes. *Please note that the beach at Kruse Park is not accessible at this time in an effort to diminish further erosion. The boardwalk through the dunes remains open.
Read the Curb Free with Cory Lee article “Four Wheelchair Friendly Things to Do in Muskegon MI“. Cory’s trip to Muskegon was included in his article “Five Most Wheelchair-Friendly Beaches in the U.S.” published by National Geographic!
Withdraw to a Walking Trail
With over 60 miles of natural and paved trails, you will find plenty of solitude and stunning views. The Hart-Montague Trail and Musketawa Trail offer 24 and 26 miles of paved pathways. Muskegon State Park offers 3 miles of beach and 12 miles of hiking trails. You can find a complete listing of our trails here.
Trail maps are also available for the following trails. Simply click on the name:
You can also read about “The Best And Most Beautiful Hikes In Muskegon” by clicking here!
Be a Safe and Happy Camper
The scenic campgrounds at Pioneer, Meinert, and Blue Lake Parks are tentatively scheduled to open Friday, May 15, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. The opening date is subject to change pending directives from the State of Michigan and Public Health Muskegon County. EDIT: With the Governor’s announcement of the Stay at Home Order extending through May 28; we are looking to determine what this means for camping restrictions and will have an update as soon as possible.
Campground reservations are available online only at muskegoncountyparks.org. in-person reservations and cash payments will not be accepted before May 15, 2020. Click here to view the Muskegon County Parks COVID-19 response and requirements.
For additional information go to muskegoncountyparks.org
Wander the Wastewater
An option that may not have occurred to many is a visit to Muskegon County Wastewater Management System! It is SO massive it has been viewed by orbiting NASA astronauts. The 11,000 acre plant offers recreational opportunities to the public including a Nature Trail and some of the best birding in Michigan!
While visiting and enjoying the trails is free, a visitor pass is required. Just click here to fill out your application. The external areas of the site are still accessible to visitors, but the Administration Building and all other Wastewater Buildings are currently closed. You may still apply for a pass online and it will be placed in the mailbox on the side of the building.
Share the Rainbow
If you are embarking on a neighborhood safe-social-distancing stroll with the little ones, have them hunt for Muskegon rainbows! The Rainbow is a symbol of hope and optimism and local businesses and residents are sharing their hope and optimism by creating and placing a rainbow in their front windows. This can also make for a fun, far from other people, scavenger hunt for the kids.
Share yours on social media with these hashtags:
During the month of April, follow the Every Woman’s Place Facebook Page to see hints on where “Survivor Rocks” have been placed throughout the community. If you find a rock, please take a picture to share on your social media channels and tag @EveryWomansPlace . and use the hashtag #ewpSAAM. Spreading words of empowerment and encouragement will uplift survivors, and our community as a whole, during this challenging time.
Whenever leaving your household during this state of emergency, please stay safe and practice #safesocialdistancing ⬅️ 6 feet ➡️
#StaySafe #StayHome #StayPositive