Madeline Bertrand County Park LbNA # 19044
|Placed Date||Oct 30 2005|
Alive & Well April 15, 2007..... Replaced July 6, 2008 Madeline Bertrand County Park, 3088 Adams Rd., Niles, MI.
Just south of downtown Niles. See berriencounty.org/parks for driving directions and maps. Admission: $3.00 resident, $5.00 non-resident. Visitor center, flush toilets, playground, picnic areas, horseshoes, volleyball, and disc golf course. Signs warn that park closes promptly at 5:30pm, gates are locked. Trails are wide and well groomed.
The city of Niles is known as the City of Four Flags. France, England, Spain and the United States have all claimed Niles as their own. Before that, Potawatomi, Miami and Iroquois tribes settled here. In 1691, the French built Fort St. Joseph, the first permanent European community in Michigan. The French named this particular area "Parc aux Vaches" or "cow pasture" for the buffalo that once grazed here. In 1808, French fur trader, Joseph Bertrand established a post in this area. Bertrand married Madeline, said to be the daughter of Potawatomi Chief Topenebee. This site was deeded to Madeline Bertrand under the Treaty of Chicago, 1821, which ceded much of SW Michigan to the United States.
Start at the statue of Madeline Bertrand, "A Potawatomie Woman", all trails lead one way, past games people play. Red is right at the fork in the trail. Immediately to the left is a bench for an early rest, but worth the view. Continue on the Red trail. Ahead on the left is The River Shelter. Climb to the top for a fabulous view of the river. After descending, look around the corner of the fireplace and wood pile. Take the Yellow Trail for a while. A/K/A Trail 4 River Deck. Down, down, down a rooty path to The Observation Deck - another fine view. Back to the trail, at the Y's, follow Y's (yellow). After winding around a bit, cross a small plank bridge, then up, up, up the steps and your heart rate to a disc golf pad. Resume the Red trail. At the 90 degree sharp right turn in the trail there is a "triple tree" that if you went straight instead of following the path you would run smack dab into. Madeline Bertrand Letterbox is around the back at the base of the tree. Suggest stamping back at Wayne & Kathy Graham's place, where there's a bench to sit and preserve secrecy of letterbox. After stamping, continue on Red Trail for a walk of 1.2 miles or go back past the disc golf pad, down the steps, across the longer plank bridge, follow the Red Trail back to the parking lot.