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Location:

Sanilac Petroglyphs

Cass City

Population:

Approximately 2,353

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The Sanilac Petroglyphs is a collection of Anishinabe rock carvings located along the Cass River in Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park. This is Michigan’s largest known collection of early Native American teachings carved in sandstone. The carvings are called Ezhibiigaadek Asin, “written on stone,” in the Anishinaabemowin language. These unusual art forms are created by the use of a stone chisel and a hammerstone. The picture is chipped out of the stone until it reaches a different hue of stone, making the image appear to be a different color than the surrounding rock. One of the displays measures 1,000 square feet and contains around 165 petroglyphs. These carvings are believed to be between 300 and 1,400 years old. Saginaw-Chippewa tribal officials and staff from relevant state departments have collaborated in recent years to try to preserve the petroglyphs and to provide interpretive signs explaining the site.

In addition to the petroglyphs, the park also offers a variety of opportunities to enjoy nature. A mile-long hiking trail crosses the Cass River twice and meanders through a forest. Kayaking is a popular summer activity here, while cross-country skiing is the winter sport of choice. When you visit, you will want to set aside some time to explore the remains of a 19th-century logging camp and to see a 110-year old White Pine tree. A camera is a must for this day trip!

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