If at Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga you feel like singing Kumbaya around the campfire, go ahead. You won’t be the first.
The Emmet County park at the west end of Pickerel Lake started out as a summer camp with boys sleeping in log cabins, eating in a mess hall and spending their days learning archery, canoeing, hiking and swimming. When the County Board of Commissioners purchased the land in 1992 they decided to create a new place to camp during the summer but preserve the history and ambiance of the old summer camp. Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga dates back to 1934 when Jim Templin, a 23-year-old graduate of University of Kentucky and former Eagle Scout, decided to postpone his business career and open a summer camp on 55 acres of abandoned property where Cedar Creek flows into Pickerel Lake.
Templin eventually expanded his facility to 300 acres and 19 log buildings, creating a camp that hosted 100 boys. Templin sold the camp in 1954 but returned after Emmet County purchased the property and organized an alumni group that refurbished the remaining cabins. Today several are available for rent while another serves as a camp museum. The most popular feature of Camp Pet-O-se-Ga is its modern campground with 90 sites, including five full hook-up, pull-through sites, scattered along five loops.
At one time the park had several miles of nature trails. But currently the best maintained paths are North Cedar Creek Trail and South Cedar Creek Trail which can be combined for a loop of 1.8 miles from the day-use area to Banwell Road. Two other trails, Pipeline and Templin, can also be followed but they are poorly marked and used mostly in the winter by snowshoers and Nordic skiers when the trails are groomed.
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