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Autumn Guide, September 2006

Power and Basset Islands

by patrick nagi

Accessible by personal watercraft, Power Island is located in the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay, about two miles southwest of Bowers Harbor off Old Mission Peninsula.

Last century the island was known by other names including Marion Island and Ford Island. At one point it was owned by the automobile magnate, Henry Ford, who sold it in 1959. Today, Power Island is a county park and has a caretaker on site during the summer.

"For me a visit is kind of like a Treasure Island experience," said Mike Norton, a representative of the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau. "I get the chance to explore and discover."

Along the southeastern edge of the island sits a boat dock and numerous picnic tables are available on shore. Norton, who makes the trip in his kayak, noted that this end of the island is also home to great swimming because of a sugar-sand bottom complete with a deep drop off.

The much smaller Basset Island is connected to Power Island via an isthmus and has overnight camping sites. Reservations are required. To learn more go to www.grandtraverse.org and search for Power Island.

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