Visitors to this secluded beach will feel they have taken a step back in time as they explore the beauty of this stretch of Lake Huron shoreline. Located on the eastern shore of Huron County in Michigan’s thumb, the MNA obtained this 45-acre site in 1989 from a bequest of the estate of William J. Kernan. The property had previously been owned by the Kernan family since 1902.
Missed by early road construction and development, the Whiskey Harbor area has largely remained remote and is believed to have only been used for cattle-grazing many years ago. Most of the habitat surrounding Kernan Memorial has been classified as sensitive wetlands, and the shoreline has been declared an “Environmental Area” protected under the Great Lakes Shorelands Protection and Management Act. Visitors can walk directly down to the shore once they reach the end of Pochert Road, and there is a half-mile trail that runs west and north around the west border of Whiskey Harbor. The multi-colored peach cobbles and mud flats along the beach are unique among MNA sanctuaries. There is also an inland sand trail that leads to a hidden beach northwest of the long, rocky point.
The rocky shallow harbor discourages any nearshore boat activity, making this secluded area excellent for bird watching. Several species of gulls and ducks call the sanctuary home. November and early March are the best time to see migratory birds. Spotting shore birds such as black-bellied plovers and sanderlings is best in September and October.
Those who visit Kernan Memorial will experience a rich history and sense of solitude on the beautiful shorelines and beaches of Lake Huron.
Planning Your Visit:
Native species like burr marigold are found among the rocks, and the beautiful cardinal flower and turtlehead can be seen blooming in the late summer months, bringing an array of color to the forest floor at Kernan Memorial.
How To Get There:
The Kernan Memorial Nature Sanctuary is located in Huron County, off of Pochert Rd.
For additional information, contact the MNA office at (866) 223-2231.
View the Sanctuary Fact Sheet
Kernan Memorial Nature Sanctuary Fact Sheet.pdf