The park is 225 sites including the host site. The campground is bisected by the main road to Silver Lake “downtown”. The smaller North Loop is on Silver Lake while the larger and hillier South Loop is across the main road. Also as part of the North Loop, is a very large child’s playground, the registration and firewood buildings, the Silver Lake beach, day use and picnic area and boat launch. About 7 miles south on Lake Michigan is another extension of the park – Little Sable Point Lighthouse and about 5 miles north of the park is the staging area for off road dune riding. Last but not least are the great sand dunes between Silver Lake and Lake MI. In total the park is nearly 3,000 acres.
Off road vehicles in the park out number the boats probably 75 to 1 with many sites having 2 or more ORV’s from 2 wheeled motorbikes to raised Jeeps, pickups, ATVs and custom made dune buggies. A 10’ whip pole with a red pennant must be affixed to the front bumpers and ORV permits are required. Tire air pressure is required to be between 12-15 psi. A dune rider is assigned a timed parking spot at the dunes in an attempt to spread the usage. During the day, I can hear the dull roar carried across the lake of the dune riders. It’s sort of becomes a background noise much like boats on a busy lake.
Friday after my arrival I walked both the North and South sections. Saturday I was told the were expecting 110 arrivals and I think all showed up. The park was packed and smoky all weekend. Saturday I walked the entire park 3 times. I slept very well Saturday night but surprisingly I was still able to walk when I got up. My first walk Sat at 9:30 am must have been too early. Seemed as though no one was up. When I mentioned that to one of the Rangers he told me that the off reading can begin at 9am so many were probably already gone.
The park actually is quiet. I expected a raucous off road crowd. Maybe my stereotype was wrong. Mostly families in those buggies and they’re gone all day as the staging area and dune access is miles away. The day use area was actually busier. I found that there was a lot of activity ‘leftovers’ on my Rubbermaid shed. I dug out a “take one” rack for putting out dot to dot sheets, mazes sheets, word puzzles etc.; had the ranger office photo copy 10 fresh copies of 5 activity sheets and put them out on a picnic table on my site next to the public walkway. At days end, I still had 50 fresh sheets. One of the storage bins had a lot (100+) young children’s books in it. So I put a couple dozen out on the picnic table with a sign (already made and in the shed) to take one or more and return when finished. I had one taker who spent about a half hour going thru the books and leaving with 6. Probably collector items!
In probably 8 full walking trips around the campsites and saying ‘hi’ to whomever was around or looked up or was also walking, I’ve only encountered 3 who engaged in a conversation. Everyone is busy doing their thing even if their thing is just sitting. This is not going to be difficult, I think, except to be present. Maybe mid week there will be more campers rather than off roaders and things will be different.
WOW!! I have never seen a mass exodus of campers like this morning. Guessing 70% have left and surprisingly, the vacant campsites are very clean. My view of the lake and dunes has improved even more. The most activity at my site has been and is the flowing artesian well where campers stop with empty jugs etc and fill. Seems like it’s a good place for dog walkers to give their dogs a drink.
I mentioned in the previous post that there was no TV. I’m wrong, I discovered if I point my antenna west, across Lake MI, I can pick up 15 or 20 stations from Green Bay. This noon I drove 25 miles to Ludington and went to a Verizon store an switched carriers for my phone and tablet from TMobile to Verizon. So now I have good phone coverage here too.
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