About our parks
Opened in 1939, Lakeside Park has long been Jacksonport’s scenic window on Lake Michigan. Over the decades Lakeside Park has welcomed family reunions; beachside weddings; neighborhood picnics; grandparents at play with their grandchildren; kayakers; sun worshippers; and midnight skinny dippers.
The Town of Jacksonport’s other park and recreational assets include:
- Erskine Rest Area, across Highway 57 from Lakeside Park, which features a restored 1880s root cellar
- Schauer Park, a small-boat launch with a panoramic view of the Lake Michigan shoreline
- Whitefish Dunes State Park, just south of Jacksonport, featuring a mile-long sand beach, visitor center and hiking trails
- Cave Point County Park, alongside Whitefish Dunes, where waves crash into limestone cliffs
- Ridges Sanctuary at Logan Creek, 170 acres of hiking trails through wetlands and woods (5724 Loritz Road)
- Meridian Park, a wayside on State 57 north of town, that sits on the 45th parallel, halfway between the Equator and North Pole
Present-day Lakeside Park milestones include its recognition in 2012 as a maritime archeological historical district. The designation both honors and safeguards remnants of shipping piers and shipwrecks, several of which rest in shallow waters off the park’s shoreline. In 2014, the Door County Coastal Byways Commission erected a marker at the park that highlights Jacksonport’s history.
A five-member Parks Committee advises the Town Board on how to manage parks and recreation facilities owned by the township. Duties of the Parks Committee include:
- Participating in budget planning
- Holding bi-monthly public meetings
- Serving as a liaison between residents and public officials
- Overseeing activities in town parks
- Operating, maintaining and improving the town’s parks
- Developing recommendations to the Town Board regarding park policies, rules and procedures
The mission of the Town of Jacksonport Parks Committee is to preserve, enhance, and promote the recreational and scenic resources of Jacksonport for the enjoyment of current and future residents and visitors.
Lakeside Park Makeover
Jacksonport’s venerable Lakeside Park, opened in 1939, would be transformed under a long-term plan that proposes flush toilets, a band shelter, walking trails, observation decks, extra parking and a three-season shelter. Here is the concept plan blueprint drawing approved by the Town Board in September 2015.
The main catalyst for the park’s redevelopment came in 2014, when the township doubled the size of Lakeside Park by acquiring private property adjoining the park. Town voters approved the purchase, which was accomplished through grant awards totaling more than $700,000. The township hired a landscape architect who, working with input from park users, Jacksonport residents, the Parks Committee and town officials, drafted several prototypes. In October 2015, the Town Board and Parks Committee approved the master plan in its concept. Construction details, such as designs for restrooms and buildings, remain to be determined and decided upon by the town.
Several planning documents helped guide the park design:
- Town of Jacksonport Land Use Plan (2007)
- Town of Jacksonport Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (2012)
- Town of Jacksonport 5-Year Parks/Playground Action Plan (2012)
Before taking any major steps in implementing the master plan, the township again will apply for grants and pursue other funding options. A key consideration is how much the town can afford, and how it fares in securing grants and donations. An important grant application deadline is May 1, 2016, for a potentially substantial Knowles-Nelson grant, with award announcements made typically in September. In the meantime, the Parks Committee will consider minor improvements for 2016. To keep informed, please check the town website and attend meetings, if possible. The Parks Committee welcomes residents to share ideas, offer reactions and advise the Parks Committee and town officials as development of the master plan moves forward. The Jacksponport.org home page lists contact information.
Regular meetings of the Parks Committee are the first Monday of even-numbered months at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall. December meetings are the second Monday of the month. Special meetings may be held as necessary and with public notice. Please see the township calendar and the agendas, meetings for more information.