Powerful Stuff

In 1881 a man named a lovely 202-acre island in Bower’s Harbor after his daughter Marion, and Power Island had its first European moniker. In 1917, that name changed to Ford Island, because auto magnate Henry Ford bought it to camp on with his auto magnate pals and, well, naming things after himself was just the way Ford rolled. In 1944, Ford sold the island, and the name generally reverted to Marion. Philanthropist Eugene Power, the last private owner of the island, donated it to Grand Traverse County for use as a park and asked that it be named Power Island upon his death in 1993.

Today, Power Island’s southern rim is the most popular gathering spot for boaters, in part because of the beach and picnic grounds there, but also because the island’s hilly middle blocks north winds, leaving things calm down on the south side.

Those in the know say that even on busy boater days, the five miles of island trails offer plenty of solitude. Stretch the legs with a little hike in the shade of second-growth forest and along the three miles of shore.

Power Island’s bonus is a mini-campground with just four sites on a tiny one-acre island called Bassett Island, connected by a thin isthmus to Power’s north side. Bassett makes a beautiful and easy kayak overnight. In the early 20th century a dancehall operated on Bassett Island and resorters ferried out from Bowers Harbor. Complete camping details at co.grand-traverse.mi.us.