Hartwick Pines State Park is clean, well maintained and interesting place to visit. We enjoyed the nature center, logging museum and rustic chapel in the woods. There are plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails, modern campground and picnic area. The area also offers paved roadside trails. The AuSable and Manistee rivers meander through the pine and hardwood forests and are well known for excellent canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Wildlife abounds.
Even wearing long sleeved shirts, long pants, hoods and plenty of bug spray we were unable to fully enjoy the many outdoor activities the park and surrounding area have to offer. The mosquitoes and after a particularly heavy rainfall, black flies, made outdoor activities unpleasant. We spoke with people who had been coming to the park for years and were told that this was the worst they have ever seen it, probably due to all the precipitation.
It costs $9.00 per day, per car to enter a Michigan State Park. This is in addition to the fee for camping. A Recreation Passport can be purchased by Michigan residents for $11.00 when they renew their license plates. Nonresidents can visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport and purchase one for $31. The Recreation Passport allows entrance to state parks, recreation areas and boat launches.
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