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Whitefish Dunes State Park celebrates milestone

Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County beach, July 17, 2017 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

DOOR COUNTY (WLUK) -- A popular Door County destination is celebrating a milestone. Whitefish Dunes State Park near Jacksonport turns 50 this year.

And even though park officials are dealing with high water levels on Lake Michigan, they say the park offers more than just the beach.

At Whitefish Dunes State Park, a mile and-a-half stretch of beach is one of the signature attractions at the site.

"As a tourist, it's just about right," said Chris Prestegard, Madison.

Prestegard and his family are on vacation from Madison.

"I think it's easy access for families. It's a beautiful stretch of beach. It's clean. It's easy for kids to play in the water here," he said.

Park officials say lake levels here are four feet higher than a year ago, and finding a spot on the beach may be a challenge.

"They question why the water is so high. We haven't done anything to make the water high. We haven't made the beach disappear. It's all natural cycle," said Lynn Zawojski, Friends of Whitefish Dunes President.

It's not just the beach, Whitefish Dunes State Park offer more than 14 miles of hiking trails that wind through the woods nearby.

The Red Pine trail features a self-paced trek through the trees.

"It's a very peaceful place to come if you want to walk the trails by yourself. You can think, and just kind of wander," said Zawojski.

At the south end of the park, the 93-foot dune called "Old Baldy," is the largest on the western shore of Lake Michigan.

"Just being able to see the dune. You can hike down there, you can stand on top and you can look around and just see a different perspective of Lake Michigan," said Zawojski.

Back on the water, kayakers paddle just off shore. People on the beach try to make the best of it.

"I think if you made the voyage down here, you're bound to find a good spot for yourself," said Luke Spelman, Green Bay.

The celebration at the park continues including a candlelight walk, scheduled for Saturday, August 19.

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