Cathead Bay

Cathead Bay location

Recognition:

  • The Nature Conservancy Natural Areas Registry
  • State of Michigan Park Plan

Size: 1236 acres

Location: Almost the most northern extent of Leelanau Peninsula

Management: Leelanau State Park

Activities: Hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, fishing, camping (adjacent), photography, nature study

Importance: A rather narrow sand and rock beach backed by several low dune ridges, and a wide sand-gravel flat with interdunal wetlands in some areas; behind these are high, forested dunes with numerous unvegetated blowouts. The open dunes, along with the numerous blowouts, are a fine example of this natural community, which was once common along the eastern Lake Michigan shoreline. In the sand and gravel flats behind the foredune, state-endangered piping plovers nest and feed. These birds usually nest on open wide beaches, but this unusual nesting spot is apparently satisfactory. Healthy populations of two state-threatened plants also grow in the interdunal area. Some shoreline areas may be closed during portions of May, June, and July due to piping plover nesting activity.

Cathead Bay

Cathead Bay Dune

Cathead Bay

Cathead Bay

Cathead Bay

Cathead Bay at Sunset