The Raptors Are Coming to Rockport Recreation Day!


Join us for a unique wildlife experience with live birds of prey! This conservation oriented program will introduce you to the raptors of the world. Get up close and personal with a hawk, falcon and owl! Learn about adaptations, species biology, behaviors, habitats, conservation, falconry and more. Our presenter, Jennifer Schroeder, a licensed falconer and wildlife educator, has over 17 years working with these magnificent creatures and presenting educational programs.

Michigan State University Students to Help with Site Development Plan


As a class project starting this Fall, students from MSU will be working on our much needed site development plan. Their mission is to look at the property, look at the DNR's Management Plan for Rockport that outlines the amenities we would like to see there, and develop a plan for what and where development is best suited. Students will be here for on-site visits and public input sessions as I understand it. Look for details later as we learn more.


Shoe Years Day A Success

To sum it up - beautiful weather-sunny with snow covered trees, great turnout with everyone enjoying the experience of being outside getting exercise in the fresh air! We had over 80 participants. 


We had Michigan visitors from Bay City, Lapeer, Midland, Romulus and Roscommon. Out of state visitors were from Oregon and Vancouver, Canada. There were several young families. One young man who was there, accompanied by his family from Romulus, was celebrating his 5th birthday. The youngest child was a 20 month old girl that got a great sled ride through the Besser Natural Area. Our DNR Recreation Programmer, Stephanie Wertz, made the trip from Bay City and brought us snowshoes to lend out. We were also happy to see Anna Sylvester, the DNR’s Northern Michigan Field Operations Section Chief for Parks and Recreation Division. When she wasn't visiting, she was out snowshoeing the trails.


The local TV station WBKB was on hand to record the action. Emmy Award winning Bon Ami filmworks was there shooting footage for a “quiet winter sports in Michigan” promotion that will eventually make it's way to the Heritage Route 23 website.

Big thank yous go to our Friends volunteers, Joy Shoemaker, Melinda Ritter, Karen (who also brought some homemade treats) and Chuck Tetzlaff, Tim Dodge, Carol and Bob Grochowski. Thanks to the Alpena Public Schools for letting us borrow their snowshoes. Thanks to the Painted Lady of Rogers City for fresh brewed coffee and gift certificates. Thanks to our local DNR staff – our Supervisor, Blake Gingrich and Terry Glomski for clearing trails, plowing the parking lot and providing benches, a bonfire and refreshments.


September 2015 News

Trails and Road Improvements at RSRA 

Supervisor Blake and Ranger James have put in time to GPS trails at Rockport. Temporary laminated signs have been added to the existing signs the Friends put in a couple of years ago on the sinkhole trail. They include directional cues and mileage information - much needed additions. There are additional locations to add signage to between the existing signs to make the trails easier to follow. 

The next step is to add markers through the quarry to a trail head to be located at Rockport Harbor. This terrain is quite difficult to put posts into. We will talk about possible solutions and also temporarily marking a trail into the quarry for fossil hunting at our next meeting.

LaFarge Presque Isle Corporation is donating road gravel that will be used to upgrade the road into the Besser Natural Area.
Meteors, S'mores and Yoga

On August 12, 2015, with over 200 visitors this event was our best attended event to date! Besser Museum filled the planetarium program presented by director John Heath and had to turn away many others that had hoped to attend. We had at least 50 visitors that participated in the twilight yoga session on the pier lead by Sam Samson and sponsored by Performance Locker. Mary Beth Stutzman assisted by volunteers from the Alpena Convention and Visitors Bureau made sure everyone got their share of S'mores. They even had hot dogs to roast that were gone within the first hour. DNR Park Supervisor Blake Gingrich and his crew, Rangers Terry Glomski and James Poole, stoked the bonfire and provided lanterns lighting the way to the pier and parking. John Heath and Jon Butler had telescopes set up for those visitors wishing to get a closer look. Our Friends group members Patrick Pokorski, Joy Shoemaker, Karen and Chuck Tetzlaff and myself were present to lend a hand where needed.


The weather started out perfectly with comfortable temperatures and clear skies. As the yoga participants were doing their final relaxation pose with eyes to the skies, the most beautiful meteor streaked across for a finale. If anyone noticed, the glow sticks out on the water belonged to Casey Stutzman who couldn't resist taking his paddle board for a starlit cruise in the harbor. Visitors were able to view several more meteors before the clouds started moving in to wrap up the event earlier than planned. We had a lot of positive feedback that night and into the days following. We're looking forward to the next time and considering ideas to make it even better!


A BIG THANKS to our volunteers and the DNR crew. We couldn't do this without you!!!

Rockport Designs Wanted


A fund raising idea we are working on to help fund a pavilion at RSRA is the selling of clothing and other items with a Rockport design and theme. Our catch phrase is “Rockport State Recreation Area - Fossils, Sinkholes, Shipwrecks and More!!!” You don't necessarily need to include that. We would definitely want to include “ Alpena / Presque Isle, Michigan”. We'll need ideas for shirts, hats, mugs, bumper stickers, etc. There may be different designs for different items. Tap into your creative side or enlist the help of someone you know that is especially good at coming up with cool designs. Let's see if we can come up with something that will represent the unique property that is RSRA! We'll be sure to give the artist(s) full credit for their designs. If you are interested or have any questions please visit our Contact Us page.



Rockport-BNA Update – January 2016

Our Next Meeting Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 12, at 6 p.m. at the Alpena Township Hall, 4385 US 23 N, Alpena. On the agenda will be events for 2016, park improvements, projects and fund raising ideas.

Shoe Years Day A Success
To sum it up - beautiful weather-sunny with snow covered trees, great turnout with everyone enjoying the experience of being outside getting exercise in the fresh air! We had over 80 participants. We had Michigan visitors from Bay City, Lapeer, Midland, Romulus and Roscommon. Out of state visitors were from Oregon and Vancouver, Canada. There were several young families. One young man who was there, accompanied by his family from Romulus, was celebrating his 5th birthday. The youngest child was a 20 month old girl that got a great sled ride through the Besser Natural Area. Our DNR Recreation Programmer, Stephanie Wertz, made the trip from Bay City and brought us snowshoes to lend out. We were also happy to see Anna Sylvester, the DNR’s Northern Michigan Field Operations Section Chief for Parks and Recreation Division. When she wasn't visiting, she was out snowshoeing the trails.

The local TV station WBKB was on hand to record the action. Emmy Award winning Bon Ami filmworks was there shooting footage for a “quiet winter sports in Michigan” promotion that will eventually make it's way to the Heritage Route 23 website.

Big thank yous go to our Friends volunteers, Joy Shoemaker, Melinda Ritter, Karen (who also brought some homemade treats) and Chuck Tetzlaff, Tim Dodge, Carol and Bob Grochowski. Thanks to the Alpena Public Schools for letting us borrow their snowshoes. Thanks to the Painted Lady of Rogers City for fresh brewed coffee and gift certificates. Thanks to our local DNR staff – our Supervisor, Blake Gingrich and Terry Glomski for clearing trails, plowing the parking lot and providing benches, a bonfire and refreshments.


Upcoming Events at Rockport State Recreation Area

That will be the main topic at our next meeting.

The event we're most excited about is the “Rockport Rugged” Triathlon to be held on August 20. Kenny Krell, National Event Director of 3disciplines paid us a visit December 30 to get a sneak preview of RSRA. He was very impressed with the truly rugged nature of the property and thought it would be a great place for an Xterra competition. He told us that this type of property is a rare find. Most places have become too well groomed to provide an Xterra type challenge. The winter will be the time for 3D to work on a special website for the event to promote the race and also the local area. We are already listed on 3disciplines.com. As soon as the weather breaks, it will be time for 3D to hit the trails and figure out the layout for the whole event.

If this event goes well, it can turn into an ongoing fundraiser for RSRA. After expenses, the profits would go for park development projects.

Other events to look forward to are another winter trail event before mid February, Recreation Day in June, Trails Day in September and at least one Dark Sky viewing event.





Rockport Designs Wanted

A fund raising idea we are working on to help fund a pavilion at RSRA is the selling of clothing and other items with a Rockport design and theme. Our catch phrase is “Rockport State Recreation Area - Fossils, Sinkholes, Shipwrecks and More!!!” You don't necessarily need to include that. We would definitely want to include “ Alpena / Presque Isle, Michigan”. We'll need ideas for shirts, hats, mugs, bumper stickers, etc. There may be different designs for different items. Tap into your creative side or enlist the help of someone you know that is especially good at coming up with cool designs. Let's see if we can come up with something that will represent the unique property that is RSRA! We'll be sure to give the artist(s) full credit for their designs. Contact me if you are interested or have any questions by replying to this newsletter.