Duck Lake is a man-made lake in the U.S. state of Michigan, located between Interstate 75 and Interstate 94 near Harrisville Township in Emmet County. The lake was created when the Raisin River was dammed to create electricity in 1913-1919. It became a recreational destination as soon as it was completed, with campsites being developed around the perimeter. In 1920, the state acquired approximately 1,100 acres (4km2), which brought the total park area to over 2,400 acres (10km2). A new campground opened in June 2008; it has 142 sites for tents or trailers, 6 cabins, modern washhouse/restrooms facilities and a boat launch.
The park offers swimming at an outdoor beach, fishing, picnicking areas, playgrounds, nature trail, bike path and scenic views of the nearby dolomite mountains. The park’s visitor center features interpretive displays about the history and ecology of the park. The park lies within the Western Appalachian Plateau, where the bedrock is limestone laid down 500 million years ago as organic sediments settled to the bottom of a shallow sea that covered much of North America. This limestone contains many holes from ancient burrows, called “cavities,” that provide shelter and nesting places for various wildlife species including bats. At least 31 different bat species have been identified in the park. Because of their importance to biodiversity, conservation efforts have been made to preserve these habitats. For example, since 1976, more than 200,000 acres (810,000ha) of land have been protected by the state against logging or other development. Much of this land includes portions of Duck Lake State Park.
The park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. Duck Lake State Park encompasses two separate units, separated by an interstate highway. The western unit consists of the original 13,387 acres (54km2) acquired in 1920, while the eastern unit added 3,287 acres (13km2) through purchase and exchange in 2006. Both units include significant natural areas, such as mature forests, wetland habitat, freshwater lakes, and mountain streams. The park offers swimming at an outside beach, camping, cabin rentals, picnic tables and shelters, playgrounds, nature trail, bike path and ski resort, among other activities. Campsites range from standard tent sites to yurts, to fully furnished cabins. There are 50 drive-up cabins available throughout the summer season, ranging from one to three bedrooms in capacity. Half of the cabins are pet friendly. Winterization procedures are in effect until late March, then full seasonal operations resume by early May.
Approximately half of the campsites are available during winter months, some with heat but no water, others with water but no electrical hookups. Snowmobiles are permitted in certain parts of the park during the winter months, with access provided via either a road or trail depending on the location. There are several miles of maintained roads and trails allowing access to most areas of the park, though some may require cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. The park provides extensive information regarding local weather conditions, fire danger, entrance fees, etc., online and in hard copy form. Visitors can find current maps and brochures at the park office. There is no admission fee to enter the park. Parking is $6 per vehicle, all day Sunday through Thursday, Oct. – April. Friday, Saturday, and major holidays there is a parking charge of $8 per car.
- cross country skiing