You may or may not know, but Michigan has not one, not two, but five public spaces that fall under the supervision of the National Park Service (NPS): Isle Royale National Park, Keweenaw National Historic Park, Pictured Rocks National Landshore, River Raisin National Battlefield Park, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. However, none of these were Michigan's first National Park, though you've certainly heard of it or even been there on more than one occasion.

Related: Michigan National Park 1 of USA's 10 Least Visited in 2023

The United States Congress created the first National Park in 1872, protecting and preserving Yellowstone. However, three years later, on March 3, 1875, around 1,000 acres of Mackinac Island, from the tip of the Lake Huron side to Fort Mackinac, was established as America's second National Park.

How (and Why) Mackinac National Park Became Michigan's First State Park

Michigan WAS Home to America's 2nd National Park

When Mackinac National Park was first commissioned, troops were still stationed at Fort Mackinac. Congress put the troops in charge of maintaining the grounds and enforcing the park policies to residents living near a federally protected piece of land.

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This made sense when the fort was still being used for training, but by the 1890s, the War Department decided that keeping men there wasn't worth the investment. It was time for a change.


Michigan WAS Home to America's 2nd National Park

So, in 1895, just 20 years after becoming America's second National Park, it became Michigan's first State Park. This new arrangement worked well for locals, who once again had more say in what could and couldn't be done inside or adjacent to a National Park.

Related: Michigan Volcanic Eruption Created World's Largest Magmatic Event

Michigan's Mackinac Island State Park now consists of around 1,800 acres, around 80% of the island. The island also holds the distinction of having the nation's only highway upon which no automobiles are allowed to drive.

Mackinac Island State Park

Unseen Splendor: The 10 Least Visited National Parks in America

America has some beautiful National Parks that attract millions of visitors annually. Then there are the bottom 10, which received the least foot traffic in 2023. Let's countdown to America's least visited National Park, according to CNN.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

Quiz: Do you know your state insect?

Stacker has used a variety of sources to compile a list of the official state insect(s) of each U.S. state, as well as their unique characteristics. Read on to see if you can guess which insect(s) represent your state. 

Gallery Credit: Andrew Vale


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