even the biggest frogs you may ever see can all be experienced on the Camp Newaygo Wetland Trail, just a few miles from the town of Newaygo. The boardwalk trail through the wetland, a sphagnum bog, allows for easy access to this marvelous area.
The first portion of the one mile long trail was built in 1986 by community members and camp staff, with a second portion of the trail completed in 2015. The trail placement and built-in observation areas skirt interesting plant life throughout, including sphagnum moss, the green carpet-like masses that give this type of wetland part of its name.
Fortunate to be one of the trail-builders in 1986, I experienced the beauty of the wetland first-hand during the build. Designing and fundraising for the trail by camp staff and community members began in...
...1985, and with a grant from the Fremont Area Community Foundation the building of the trail become a reality. That reality turned a bit bumpy at first when the tandem semi-truck delivering the lumber needed for the first portion of the trail was unable to make it up the steep, winding drive into camp. Staff jumped in and actually unloaded, piece by piece, the lumber along the side of the drive. Then, once the embarrassed truck driver could finally pull his rig out, we loaded the lumber on to the camp pickup, load by load, to the staging area of the build. Piece by piece.
With more experienced builders teaching the less experienced, we made up a crew that worked tirelessly building the 10 foot boardwalk sections. Once three sections were built, we loaded on the pickup bed and drove to the trail head, unloaded and carried out to be placed in the wetland, section by section. Knee-deep, hip-deep, and sometimes more than that deep, in water and mud this process kept up and finally in October 1986, the last section of the first portion of the trail was laid and secured. Many of us dubbed the project “the hardest job we loved to do”. And boy, were we buff.
Thirty years later, I still feel amazement at the beauty of this wetland. Located on camp property, positioned between Pickerel and Emerald Lakes, I encourage you to take time to enjoy this gem of nature we have here in Newaygo County. The Camp Newaygo Wetland Trail is open to the public sunrise to sunset, with a small parking area at the head of the trail.
Driving directions from downtown Newaygo: had north on M-37 and cross the Muskegon River; turn left onto M-82; turn right onto Evergreen Drive which becomes Centerline Rd.; travel approximately 2 miles; pass the main entrance to Camp Newaygo; turn left onto gravel 52nd Street; trail head parking will be on your right.
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