The Mackinac Island State Park Commission is thrilled with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to construct a new visitor’s center at Mackinac Island’s Arch Rock that will be named in honor of former Michigan governor William G. Milliken.
Arch Rock is one of Michigan’s most recognizable and beloved geological formations. Visitors to Mackinac Island, from the earliest Native American inhabitants to later French, British, and American settlers, have been awed by its sculpted beauty. Arch Rock, which is visited by over 500,000 visitors annually, is TripAdvisor’s top attraction within Mackinac Island State Park.
The new structure will replace a 50-year old, badly deteriorated restroom with new, fully accessible facilities and a visitor’s gathering area featuring park information and interpretive exhibits highlighting Mackinac Island’s geology. New construction will require replacement of the septic system, improved storm water drainage, and landscaping.
“We are so pleased with Governor Whitmer’s proposal to construct a new visitor’s center at Arch Rock, one of Mackinac Island’s most recognizable natural features,” said Phil Porter, Mackinac State Historic Parks’ director. “A fully-accessible structure with informative displays at Arch Rock will benefit hundreds of thousands of visitors, and allow us to further our mission of protecting, preserving and presenting Mackinac’s rich historic and natural resources.”
William G. Milliken served as Michigan’s Governor from 1969 through 1982 and spent considerable time at the governor’s summer residence on Mackinac Island. In 1976 Milliken hosted President Gerald R. Ford, the only sitting president to ever visit Mackinac Island. Following his service in office, Milliken purchased a cottage in Mackinac Island’s Hubbard’s Annex where he spent many summers.
Arch Rock resides within Mackinac Island State Park, Michigan’s first state park. It is governed by the seven-member Mackinac Island State Park Commission, chaired by Daniel J. Loepp. The park is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2020.
Mackinac State Historic Parks, a family of living history museums and parks in northern Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac, is an agency within the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Its sites—which are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums—include Fort Mackinac, the Biddle House, The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, Historic Downtown Mackinac, and Mackinac Island State Park on Mackinac Island, and Colonial Michilimackinac, Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park and Michilimackinac State Park in Mackinaw City. Mackinac State Historic Parks is governed by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, established in 1895 to protect, preserve and present the parks’ rich historic and natural resources for the education and recreation of future generations. Visitor information is available at (231) 436-4100 or on the web at www.mackinacparks.com.