A Little Bit of History...

A National Wild & Scenic River

Jim & Freda Henry - Early 1980's

Taking care of business.

Tess & Josh Henry - 1999

First camp picture together.

Fishermen - 1986

The Good Ole Days

Josh & Jim Henry - 1986

Mowing grass with grandpa.

In 1974, Jim Henry had a vision of making a place where fishermen could come to experience the thrill of the great salmon fight. He purchased property on The Pere Marquette River and spent two years building it into a campground. He called it Henry's Landing. At first, Henry's Landing was meant only to serve fishermen during the 6 week salmon run in late summer. Jim's wife, Freda ran their general store; checking in campers, selling tackle and writing fishing licenses, which back then, was all done by hand. She was also an expert at tying spawn bags and making lead sinkers. At their fish cleaning station, Jim and his crew spent day and night cleaning thousands of fish. Fishermen started coming to Henry's Landing from all over the country. Jim and Freda made many friends and built many memories together with their children Scot, Jeff and Cheri. Later, they decided to extend their camping season to include summer camping and added canoe, kayak and tube rentals.

In 1982, Jim and Freda's grandson, Josh, was born and he spent most of his childhood summers at Henry's Landing with his grandparents, being Grandpa's Little Helper. In the summer of 1999, at the age of 16, Josh met his wife, Tess while she was camping with her family at Henry's Landing. They were married in 2004 and are blessed with two sons, Chase and Mack. They found that they share the same love for Henry's Landing as Jim and Freda and became involved with operating the campground.

Less than 1/4 of 1% of our rivers are protected under the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System and the Pere Marquette River, known locally as simply "The PM", is one of them. No dams or other construction will be built on the PM because it was designated to be preserved for its outstanding and remarkable values. The stretch of river we utilize at Henry's Landing is from Custer Bridge to the South Twin Bridge and does not require a permit to float it. This lazy stretch of river is mostly 2-4 feet deep and is perfect for families and beginners to canoeing or kayaking. The PM River is abundant with wildlife and on quiet days you may see white-tail deer, bald eagles, blue herons, muskrats, turtles, fish, ducks and more!

About the Pere Marquette River

The Story of Henry's Landing

Campground & Canoe Rental

Henry's Landing, LLC

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The first inhabitants of the Pere Marquette River were, of course, Native Americans. From 10,000 BC to 1600 AD several different Indian cultures settled this area of Michigan. There were many battles fought to gain control of the river because it provided important life sustaining values. After one particular battle, the heads of the fallen warriors were put on stakes and placed around the mouth of the river to warn others not to enter. This event lead to the old name for the river "Not-a-pe-ka-gon", meaning "heads-on-sticks". Today, there is still an original Indian Burial Site near the edge of the Pere Marquette River in Custer.

It wasn't called the Pere Marquette River until the late1600's when one of the first white men traveled here, Father Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit Priest. After his exploration of the Mississippi River he became very ill and decided to return to his mission in St. Ignace, Michigan. He and his fellow men traveled by canoe along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Father Marquette's illness became much worse and they took shelter at the mouth of a river where he died on May 18th, 1675. The river was given his name and a memorial placed at his original burial site, which is on South Lakeshore Drive in Ludington. Father Marquette's remains were later moved to St. Ignace; his final wish.

During the late 1800's, many white settlers were attracted to this area for the logging and manufacturing of white pine trees. The Pere Marquette River served as a "roadway" to float hundreds of pine logs to the mills in Ludington, where they were cut into boards and shingles. Many of our trees helped rebuild Chicago after the disastrous fire of 1871. The trees were eventually exhausted and many lumberjacks moved on to other opportunities out West. Others decided to become farmers and made Mason County their home. Evidence of the logging days can still be seen along the Pere Marquette River today. What we call "the highbanks" today, used to be called The Chinnery Rollway and the scars that the logs left from rolling down the land are still very visible. There are even a few old logs from the logging days still embedded in the river bottom.

Today, the Pere Marquette River is utilized primarily for recreational purposes. Canoeing and kayaking, as well as tubing, is growing increasingly popular by travelers and locals, especially the stretch of river between Custer and Scottville. Fishing is also a favorite activity among river-goers. In particular, salmon fishing is a tradition that will carry on every September for as long as the river is wet.

Jim & Freda Henry - 1978