|P.J. Hoffmaster State Park|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Parabolic dune in P.J. Hoffmaster State Park. Note damage to dune grass on unauthorized trail in center of photograph.
|Location||Muskegon County / Ottawa County, Michigan, USA|
|Nearest city||Norton Shores, Michigan|
|Area||1,100 acres (4.5 km2)|
|Governing body||Michigan Department of Natural Resources|
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park is a state park along Lake Michigan located at the southwest corner of Norton Shores, in the U.S. state of Michigan in Muskegon County and the northwest corner of Spring Lake Township in Ottawa County. It is operated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The park includes 1,100 acres (4 km2) of land including 3 miles (5 km) of sand beach on the lake. There are ten miles (16 km) of hiking trails, including the Dune Climb Stairway on the tallest dune. Three miles (5 km) of trail are groomed in the winter for cross-country skiing. There are two campgrounds and a beach.
The park is named after P.J. Hoffmaster, sometimes considered the founder of the Michigan state parks system, who served as the Superintendent of State Parks and Director of the Department of Conservation. The nature center, named for Emma Genevieve Gillette, who scouted locations for new state parks under Hoffmaster, offers many exhibits on sand dune ecology. Bird watchers come to view migrating songbirds (wood thrushes and orioles plus warblers and sparrows of various species) and migrating raptors (sharp-shinned and broad-winged hawks and even the occasional eagle or falcon).
The park made international headlines on July 8, 2009 when a man fell asleep in his truck and backed over his family tent, injuring his wife and two young children.
The Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center features interactive exhibits related to the sand dune ecosystem within the park. The center also has live animals and an auditorium and offers many nature programs for the public.