By Paige Wester
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter
When people think of rock climbing, outsiders may think of the Rocky or Appalachian mountains. But in Grand Ledge, natives know right here is a place for people to flock to for rock walls.
According to rockclimbing.com, Grand Ledge has one of only a few places to climb on rock in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula at Oak Park, which is owned by the city of Grand Ledge.
Keith Martin, a resident of Grand Ledge, said that Oak Park is definitely the biggest attraction Grand Ledge has to offer.
Grand Ledge citizens and people from out of town don’t have to drive hours and hours to do something they love. “We are proud of what this town has to offer and our rock climbing makes a great place to climb or even just for the scenery,” said Martin. “People find real happiness when they can do what they love and not have to travel too far to do it.”
Peter Prowl, a resident of the Eaton County area for many years, said that rock climbing has been his escape from reality for many years and he is so thankful that Oak Park is so close to his home.
“Climbing season is much longer in the Lower Peninsula compared to the UP because the weather stays warmer longer,” said Prowl.
According to mountainproject.com, rock climbing in Grand Ledge has a lot to offer. From boulders, rocks, and the difficulty of the climb, Oak Park has it all for any rock climber’s paradise.
However, Boy Scout troop leader and avid rock climber for over 30 years Lou Cox, said that the disadvantage of Oak Park rock climbing is there are no guidance or instructions provided at the park or even on the website. This can cause many accidents, so you must be extremely careful.
Cox said that he has seen many accidents when it comes to rock climbing, and if you are alone and seriously injured you have absolutely no help. People think they know what they are doing, but in reality it takes years of training and lessons to know exactly what to do if something goes wrong.
“As much as I enjoy the rock climbing Grand Ledge has to offer, the rock climbing up north I find to be more safe because there are experts there in case of an emergency,” Cox said. “My main concern is for people’s safety, especially kids, so I definitely think having someone out in Oak Park to keep an eye on everyone is something Grand Ledge should really look into.”
“Rock climbing in Grand Ledge is a huge attraction that people come to from all over the state to climb,” said Cox. “I just want the City of Grand Ledge to possibly get some advice from other areas in Michigan to make Oak Park the best it can be.”
For more information about Grand Ledge’s rock climbing, check out Grand Ledge Climbing.