Christmas comes early for State Park

Santa’s helpers arrived at Ludington State Park Tuesday morning in the form of a semi-trailer loaded with playground equipment.

The equipment is for a new highly-accessible playground planned for construction in June, 2018. First, Friends of Ludington State Park must raise approximately $70,000 in funds more for surfacing and installation supervision.

Ludington State Park staff and Friends of Ludington State Park volunteers unloaded the $125,0000 in GameTime equipment and stored it to await summer.

FLSp Deliverary

Staff and volunteers gathered in front of the pallets of playground equipment. From left are park staff Paul Kiine, Manager Jim Gallie, Supervisor Dan Adams, Secretary Laura Sharpe, FLSP volunteers Craig Rathke, Michael Wheeler, Larry Lloyd, Gary Hearing, Bob Sasin and Park Interpreter Alan Wernette.

The non-profit 501(c)3 Friends of Ludington State Park took on the playground fundraising and volunteer construction project. The playground, which will feature poured-in-place surfacing for enhanced safety and greater accessibility for all, will overall cost approximately $202,000 when completed.

Tuesday morning, FLSP President Bob Sasin attached a big red holiday bow to one of the 14 oversized pallets and shrink-wrapped packages of parts –assembly required – noting the equipment arrived in time for Christmas.

FLSP member volunteers Sasin, Craig Rathke, Larry Lloyd, Gary Hearing, Michael Wheeler and Steve Begnoche assisted park staff manager Jim Gallie, supervisor Dan Adams, rangers Paul Kline and Kevin Swygert and interpreter Alan Wernette with the unloading. Park secretary Laura Sharp, who has helped FLSP in many ways, also was on hand.

The two playscape playground will be located near the pavilion at the Hamlin Lake beach day use area. Currently, the playground at the area is more than 60 years old and consists only of a slide and swing set.

FLSp slides

A load of slides is moved by Kevin Swygert.

Support for the playground project so far includes grants from GameTime, the Community Foundation for Mason County, the foundation’s Youth Advisory Council, the Great Lakes Energy People Fund and a contribution from the Ludington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau for FLSP’s aid in providing volunteers for the annual Pure Ludington Brrrewfest.

In addition, FLSP has contributed funds to the project. They have also received donations from many local individuals and park users and campers from around Michigan and outside the state.

Donations can be made by credit card online through the Community Foundation for Mason County website,

Checks made out to Friends of Ludington State Park, note playground project, can be mailed to FLSP, P.O. Box 123, Ludington, MI 49431.

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