In 1898, Sam Crawford purchased fifty-three thousand acres of stumpland around Menominee and began logging operations on the hemlock growing among the pine stumps. Five hundred of these acres were was still virgin timber, and Crawford intentionally preserved it. John Walter Wells, part owner of the Bird-Wells Lumber Company, later purchase this land. Wells died in 1921, and in 1925 his children donated 335 acres of virgin timber, including 2.5 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, to the state of Michigan to establish a park. An additional 131 acres which had been purchased by the Menominee County Road Commission was added to create the park.
Development of the park began in 1927–28. Trees were planted and stoves, toilets, a well, and play equipment were installed. In 1929 a log bathhouse was constructed. Much of the development in the park was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In 1933, a two-hundred man camp was established, and over the next 10 years, the CCC developed five distinct areas within the park: the day-use (or picnic) area, the residence area, the group camp area, the campground area, and the trails and trailside shelters area. The CCC undertook a major reforestation project in the park, constructed three miles of foot trails, a parking lot, recreational fields, and sanitary facilities
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