On this geologic adventure, participants will explore the mouth of the longest river in Michigan and hike through huge dunes of quartz sand laden with magnetite. These sand dunes range in age from 100’s to over 10,000 years old. Our journey will begin at the mouth of the Grand River where we will walk out onto the newly constructed jetty and talk about the Grand River and how it has been impacted by human activities past and present. We will journey from there to hike over dunes that are 100's of feet tall and covered with a forest that is a succession of different trees and plants adapted to this harsh environment. We will be on the lookout for unique plant and animal species that call this environmental home. While at the lake shore, we will discuss and explore the recent erosion which is the result of changing lake levels and the effect this has on coastal communities and lake property. We will also also talk about the ice ages and how these dunes were formed through a series of dramatic climatic changes. We will end our journey with a picnic of classic west Michigan themed foods, all locally sourced, such as blueberry salsa, fresh fruits in season, and local smoked meats.
I am a broadly trained environmental geologist, geomorphologist, and surface water hydrologist. I teach at Grand Valley State University and I am passionate about preserving and observing our natural environment (http://faculty.gvsu.edu/wamplerp/). I also have travelled to Haiti numerous times since 2007 to work on water resources issues and safe-water interventions. Since 2016, I have led three groups of GVSU students on a 4-week study abroad to Haiti where students engage in service learning projects, ecotourism, and water resources investigations (www.gvsu.edu/haitistudyabroad).
Locally sourced Michigan snacks that you cannot get elsewhere.
Many tourists walk the pier in Grand Haven, but few know the complex and challenging issues that are impacting this beautiful river. The beach at the State park near Grand Haven is a beautiful place to enjoy Lake Michigan, with 1000's of other people. Just a few miles down the Lakeshore is Rosy Mound Park where after a short hike over the dunes rewards the adventurous with a more secluded beach with unrivaled beauty.
Clothing appropriate for the weather
This experience will involve hiking up stairs over the dunes. Those will severe mobility disabilities may find it difficult or impossible to participate.
Lake Michigan Shoreline Adventure