Over the stifling hot Memorial Day Weekend, we headed out for a hike in the Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary in the Manistee National Forest near White Cloud. This is the only wildflower sanctuary in the National Forest system and is a joint project with the Federated Garden Clubs of Michigan. This is a bit of a hidden gem. There is not much about it on the internet so before visiting, I didn’t know what to expect. Even though it is advertised as having flowers all season long, there weren’t many blooms on our visit. The brochure says that Pink Lady Slippers, Pitcher Plants, Jewelweed, and Bergamot can all by spotted in the sanctuary. I want to come back later in the summer with hope of seeing more color.

The park is also home to some rural Michigan history. In the late 1800s, the Pere Marquete Railway Company harvested most of the area’s timber and then sold the land to railroad stockholders. Frederick Hanson bought the land but didn’t see any value in it until a family friend convinced him that the land could be successfully farmed using scientific methods. After farming the land for several years, Hanson built a summer home and servant’s quarters on the property. Hanson’s son-in-law, Albert Schmidt, an artist from Paris, inadvertently caused the Hansons to miss their departure on the Titanic. As a thank you, Hanson built Schmidt a studio on the property where Schmidt painted many scenes of Loda Lake.

Thanks for stopping by! If I have piqued your interest and you want to explore this under the radar park, visit the National Forest Service. A $5 entrance fee is required. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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