McLain State Park (MI) to get major campground improvements

DNR announces more funding to implement master plan at F.J. McLain State Park in Houghton County

Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials said a recent $1.25 million capital outlay allocation has helped boost to nearly $3 million the total amount of funding available to design and construct master plan concepts at F.J. McLain State Park.

Work was initially planned to begin this spring, but has been postponed until after Labor Day (Sept. 4) and the busy summertime camping season.

“In January, the DNR announced it had awarded an initial $1.25 million in 2017 capital outlay funding for Phase I implementation of the master plan,” said Eric Cadeau, a regional field planner with the DNR in Baraga. “We now have received another $1.25 million for Phase 2 improvements, bringing our total funding so far to $2.7 million.”

Financial assistance was provided, in part, by the Michigan Coastal Zone Management Program, Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, under the National Coastal Zone Management Program, through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

In August, the DNR solicited public comments on the McLain State Park master plan, which will guide developments at the beautiful Lake Superior waterfront park over the next 60 years.

“Over 250 public comments were received,” Cadeau said. “The plan has been reviewed and accepted by the DNR Parks and Recreation Division and was presented to the Michigan State Parks Advisory Committee and Michigan Natural Resources Commission on December 8.”

The final master plan can be viewed here.

The 443-acre park is situated between Calumet and Hancock in Houghton County, about 10 miles northwest of Hancock, off M-203.

Phase 1 improvements are scheduled to include:
  • A new campground toilet and shower building sized to serve 130 campsites.
  • Twenty new modern campsites serviced by 20/30/50 amp electrical service.
  • A new campground circulation road to serve the existing campground.
  • Miscellaneous utility system modifications.
Phase 2 construction is expected to include:
  • Additional parking, day use green space, and beach access improvements at the “Breakies” day use area. 
  • A new park entrance and contact station.
  • Sixteen additional modern campsites offering 20/30/50 amp electric.
  • Demolition and restoration along the existing campsite lakeshore.
Over the past few years, erosion has been a persistent problem at the park, causing rangers to close some park campsites and other features.

With several factors involved, the shoreline is expected to continue to erode at the park. These anticipated changes over the next 60 years are reflected in the master plan.

Prior to the upcoming camping season, park officials will continue to evaluate whether the existing campground’s toilet-shower building we be available for campers during the upcoming camping season.

Because of the uncertainty of the availability of those services, campers are being charged semi-modern rates for campsites and mini-cabins.

“We appreciate your patience during this transition period and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,” said Jamie Metheringham, unit supervisor for McLain and Twin Lakes state parks. “These new improvements will be positive developments for McLain State Park, aiding our park visitors, many of whom faithfully return year and year.”

Visitors to F.J. McLain State Park can enjoy a variety of activities ranging from fishing, windsurfing, berry picking and beachcombing to camping, rock hounding, sight-seeing and hunting. The sunsets at McLain State Park are spectacular and the view of the lighthouse is magnificent.