Tahquamenon Falls State Park bridge makes island more accessible

A bridge over the Upper Peninsula’s Tahquamenon River hasn’t hurt tourism, as some worried, and has made a visit to the park safer and more accessible, park officials said.

The142-foot-long bridge was installed in Tahquamenon Falls State Park in September amid controversy. Some patrons feared it would take away from the views in the area.

It connects the park’s mainland to a 7-acre island, which has a widened walking path and views of several waterfalls on the river. Before the bridge was installed, the island was only accessible by rowboat.

That posed accessibility problems for people who couldn’t maneuver a boat as well as emergency responders, prompting the $1.28 million bridge project.

Kevin Dennis, park manager at Tahquamenon Falls State Park, said that most people, once they saw the location of the bridge, didn’t object.

“I think some folks maybe thought that it was going to be out more in the open view and an eyesore and all these things, but it’s not,” Dennis said. “It’s been received overwhelmingly positively. I haven’t heard a single bad comment.”

Anyone can visit the island now, Dennis said.

“People with all sorts of abilities and needs are able to be there now,” he said. “People with walkers and wheelchairs and electric scooters that would have never been able to be over there before are able to visit. They can all be there now.”

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