Description - Father Jacques Marquette, a French Jesuit missionary, established Michigan's earliest European settlements at Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace in 1668 and 1671. He lived among the Great Lakes Indians from 1666 to his death in 1675. During these nine years, Father Marquette mastered several native languages and helped Louis Jolliet map the Mississippi River. Father Marquette National Memorial and Museum is located in Straits State Park and is interpreted in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
- The Father Marquette National Memorial museum building was destroyed in a fire on March 9, 2000. Current attractions include the memorial, an outdoor interpretive trail, picnicking and a panoramic view of the Mackinac Bridge, one of the world's longest suspension bridges spanning over 3,800 feet. The site is accessible to the disabled. The hours are Memorial Day through Labor Day, 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM daily with extended evening hours mid-June through mid-August. Phone 517-373-3559 or TDD (800) 827-7007 for more information. Inquiries about special events may be directed to the Michigan Historical Center at 517-373-3559 or Straits State Park at 906- 643-8620.
Recreation - Attractions include hiking, sightseeing, viewing historical signs.
Climate - The Straits normally experiences mild summers with average temperatures around 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Winter temperatures average 14 - 18 degrees F (-10 to -8 degrees C). Yearly rain and snowmelt in the region averages 28 - 36 inches but can be dramatically altered by the "lake effect," thus depositing significant amounts of snow within a short period of time causing hazardous road conditions.
The Father Marquette National Memorial is located at St. Ignace in Straits State Park, just west of I-75 off US 2. (A Michigan State Parks Vehicle Permit is required for entrance to the park.)