Little Mac Traditional Geocache
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The cache container is a quart sized glass jar covered with cammo tape hidden near ground level. The access road is not plowed in the winter and the cache should not be considered winter friendly.
This is the largest suspension foot bridge in the lower peninsula of Michigan. Affectionately known as Little Mac after its larger cousin the Mackinaw Bridge connecting the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. It is 245 feet from one end to the other with a center suspended span of 165 feet. The center span weighs 35 lbs/sq ft or 34,650 lbs. The load weight of this span is 85 lbs/sq ft or 84,150 lbs for a total weight and load of 118,800 lbs. When you walk across it notice that it does sway slightly under your weight, but with these weight limits you will be safe. It was constructed in 1996 at a cost of $92,730 with a 50-50 cost share between Consumers Power Company and the U.S. Forest Service.
In the mid 1980’s I was designated as team leader for a group of specialists from various disciplines to develop and write a management plan for the Manistee River Area between Hodenpyl Dam and Tippy Dam and for an area up to two miles either side of the river. At that time the North Country Scenic Trail existed along the bluffs West of the River and a smaller Manistee River Trail was being built on the East side of the Manistee River. One of the recommendations and plans coming out of this group was to build a foot bridge across the Manistee River to connect these two trails. At that time, because of the costs involved, I doubted the project would be completed and was afraid it would become one of those nice to do projects that would remain buried in paperwork. However, the recommendation was included in our report.
In the early to mid 1990’s Consumers Power company was applying for re-licensing of the Hodenpyl and Tippy Hydroelectric Dams and other Hydroelectric Dams throughout Michigan. One recommendation that came out of that process was for them to develop more recreation facilities around and near their impoundment’s. With that recommendation the Manistee River Trail Bridge came forth as a feasible project. It now connects a segment of the North County National Scenic Trail with the Manistee River trail for a continuous 23 mile loop trail open to all hikers. What you will see at this cache site is the Manistee River Bridge and a trail system that was made possible out of the tiny germ of an idea that I am proud to have played a leading role in. There is public parking facilities for the trail system this Bridge connects at Red Bridge River Access site on Coates Highway, also near Coates Highway on Upper River Road, and the North Country Trailhead just off Beers Road. At these facilities rest rooms are provided but there is a charge because you will need a public access parking sticker to park there. Parking at the cache and bridge is free, off of Upper River Road, but there are no facilities. You will be able to park approximately 700 feet from the cache site on the west side of the Manistee River and use the bridge to access it.
Vehicle access to the East side of the river is also possible but you can't drive as close. Enjoy the Manistee River Bridge and the trail system that serves it.
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