Garden Island is less 2 miles north of Beaver Island and is the next largest island in the archipelago. This island once had a town, including a post office and was named Success, Michigan. Of course, time has marched on, and Success, it seems was UN-successful due to the fact that commercial fishing dwindled. It is now mostly state owned.
If you have a fear of snakes, this is NOT the island to be hiking on, although there are NO poisonous snakes here, but those garter snakes and water snakes can and do startle people. The island also has an abundant supply of poison ivy. There are many, many hiking trails here. The map below is from Exploring North Manitou, South Manitou, High and Garden Islands of the Lake Michigan Archipelago by R. H. Ruchhoft. For anyone who would like to read the book, the ISBN is 0-940029-02-2 .
Wildflowers are prolific on Garden as they are on the other islands in the archipelago. There is also an abundance of wildlife to be found, from white tailed deer, to rabbit to coyote. One of the nicest things about living on an island so far from the mainland is that we have no skunk or porcupine here. Animals are either "planted" or must cross the expanse of water or ice in the winter when the majority of animals are in hibernation.
What draws visitors to Garden Island? Boaters enjoy its harbor, which is possibly the best protected one in Lake Michigan.... it's very shallow so no large ships can anchor here, but day sailors can enjoy this as a haven from sudden lake storms.
The major draw for Garden is its Indian burial grounds. It has been estimated that at least 2,500 people are buried here. Although most of the sites are unmarked, there are a few more recent ones that haven't suffered the ravages of time as long. These photos were taken by Phil Gregg of these spirit houses as they are called.
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