Wall Street Journal names Michigan’s jewel the best national park in the USA
Wall Street Journal names Michigan’s jewel the best national park in the USA

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (WOOD) — For people who enjoy exploring Northern Michigan, this is no surprise. But for others, it is a big deal when a Michigan park is Wall Street Journal.

In a new ranking of the country’s national parks, the authors explained Isle Royale National Park the king of the mountains, beating even America’s tallest mountain, Denali National Park and Preserve.

The rankings used four specific criteria, including hiking and camping opportunities and a variety of other recreational opportunities, but one data point in particular stood out and was the deciding factor in Isle Royale taking the top spot – crowds. Crowds carried 50% of the weight in rankings for those looking for a tranquil environment for their outdoor recreational activities.

Isle Royale has plenty of these. First, because of its location north of the Keweenaw Peninsula, the island is submerged in winter for most of the year. The park is closed from November 1 to April 15. Second, it is difficult to reach. Visitors must charter a ferry or seaplane to visit the park.

Data from the National Park Service show that about 29,000 people visited Isle Royale National Park last year, the highest number in more than 30 years. That is the fifth lowest number of visitors of all 63 NPS parks and significantly less than the 13.29 million people who visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park last year.

Even the ranking participants said they were surprised by the final results.

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Rock Harbor on Isle Royale. (Paul Brown/National Park Service)

“This is true wilderness: a land of moose and wolves and the eternal drama between them,” the ranking authors said. “Backpackers can pitch tents at one of the park’s 36 rustic campsites, but visitors will also find plenty of opportunities for day hikes, and the 1956 Rock Harbor Lodge makes up for its lack of frills with an endless supply of old-fashioned charm.”

Organizers of Visit Keweenaw, the region’s tourism bureau, seem to agree.

“This Lake Superior gem requires preparation and foresight, as visitors can only reach it by boat or seaplane… but once on Isle Royale, the deep connection to oneself and nature is an indescribable reward,” the office said. said in a social media post.

Isle Royale earned a score of 81.01. North Cascades National Park in Washington was the only other park that came close, with a score of 78.89. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks in California, Big Bend National Park in Texas, and Denali rounded out the top five with scores ranging from 71 to 67.

While the NPS has 63 national parks, it also manages a total of 429 “units” – everything from parks and nature reserves to battlefields and national monuments.

By Isla