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Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame Honors Hartwick Pines State Park Saver Woman

Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame Honors Hartwick Pines State Park Saver Woman

Karen Hartwick, Hartwick Pines

Nearly 100 years ago, Karen Hartwick, a Grayling woman, purchased and donated to the state Michigan an 8,000-acre parcel that contained a rare and valuable grove of virgin pine trees.

Hartwicks father had made a fortune from the logging boom which had decimated large parts of Michigan’s ancient forests. Hartwicks donation was significant because she was the only person making it.

Hartwick wanted to honor her husband, who died from illness while fighting overseas in WWI, with her gift. Hartwick knew how valuable this property was and so she made a formal agreement for the permanent protection of one the last wild places in Michigan.

Hartwicks vision gave Michigan Hartwick Pines State Park. The state has maintained that land as safe over the past century. The original intent and spirit of Hartwick’s donation was still invoked as the reason for the state, even ten years ago. The land was removed from an auction which would have allowed drilling explorationYou can find them under the old-growth pines.

RELATED: How a daughter of a lumberman saved Hartwick Pines’ magical forest in Michigan

Hartwick, who was born in 1950, was last week honored by the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame as a recipient of the legacy award. Tuesday’s ceremony was held in Grand Rapids for the Hall of Fame inductees.

Karen Hartwick’s grandson, Alan Hartwick, said that she probably realized the extent of damage that had been done to the state by cutting all the trees. This was a truly unique piece of property.

Alan Hartwick said that he still remembers his grandmother as a presence and that her family stories portray her as a woman who was active. She did what she had to do, he said.

Hartwick Pines covers nearly 10,000 acres today. There are miles of trails, camping and a logging history museum. A rustic chapel is also available for intimate weddings. The old-growth forest is at the heart of everything. It has its own presence. A footpath winds through the parcel, giving visitors the opportunity to see the trees that still remain thanks to the generosity of a lumberman’s child.

More Hartwick Pines State Park.

More information on the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame.

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Karen Hartwick, Hartwick Pines

Karen Hartwick in the period when she donated Hartwick Pines State Park. Photo courtesy Michigan DNR/Michigan History Museum

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