Thursday, December 27, 2007

High Ropes Nature Experience - Mackinac City 2008

Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park Zip Line
Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park Zip Line
courtesy photo
On May 5,2008, visitors to the 625-acre Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park will have the opportunity to explore nature from an eagle's eye view as they soar over Mill Creek on the Eagle's Flight Zip Line and walk through the treetops on the Forest Canopy Bridge. A park naturalist will guide visitors through this high ropes nature experience.

"This is a thrilling new way to learn about the natural wonders of our northern Michigan environment," said Mackinac State Historic Parks' Director Phil Porter. "These experiences will provide insight, education and understanding."

According to Jeff Dykehouse, curator of natural history at Mackinac State Historic Parks, the experience will offer a chance to learn about animals like squirrels and birds while experiencing the thrill of walking through the forest canopy and gliding over a pond.

"Some of the discovery park elements will let visitors get up into the different layers of the forest where they can better learn about the animals that live there," Dykehouse said.

Attractions for small children are also being added. Young adventurers can explore the Water Power Station and interact in the Forest Friends Play Area.

The Mackinac Island State Park Commission is pleased to work with local partners who are helping to make these many new interactive features possible, including Mackinac Associates, which is funding the Forest Canopy Bridge, and Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-op, our local Touchstone Energy Cooperative, which is funding the Water Power Station.

According to Porter, the high ropes nature experience is being added to appeal to a broader audience. "This initiative takes advantage of new, interactive experiences used in other eco-tourism destinations," Porter said. "Our new programs will combine all of the existing educational and interpretive messages of Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park and deliver them in new and exciting ways."

Construction, underway by Mackinac State Historic Parks and Ropes Courses, Inc. of Allegan, Michigan, is scheduled to be completed by season opening.

Also available at the park are favorites that have been enjoyed throughout the years, including the 18th-century, authentically reconstructed Millwright's House, sawpit and water-powered sawmill.

"Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park will continue to focus on the historic and natural themes that have characterized the site since it opened. As a discovery park, however, these themes will be presented in new and dynamic ways to meet the expectations of today's visitor," said Mackinac State Historic Parks' Chief Curator Steven Brisson. "All new programs and hands-on, interpretive exhibits will be family-friendly and designed to encourage active learning."

Since Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park's opening in 1984, there have been many improvements to the park, including the reconstruction of the British Workshop and American Millwright's House, the creation of an audiovisual program, and the construction of a 3.5-mile nature trail system.

Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park is the site of northern Michigan's first industrial complex. Its history dates back to 1790 when, due to the demand in sawn lumber on Mackinac Island, an entrepreneur obtained use of 640 acres along Mill Creek to build a sawmill. The property eventually contained the sawmill, a gristmill, many buildings, a large orchard and 40 acres of cultivated land. The sawmill ceased operation in 1839, and over the next century the land reverted to wilderness. Through the efforts of the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, an operating water-powered sawmill was reconstructed, and the site opened on June 15, 1984.

a news release of Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park, "High Ropes Nature Experience to be Offered at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park", Dec 20, 2007
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