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Inclusivity Outdoors

July 3, 2024 | By Emilie Jacques

Baraga State Park unveils new ADA friendly playground

With sunshine and a light breeze blowing in from Lake Superior, Baraga State Park officially opened their brand new playground on July 3, 2024 at a lovely ceremony in front of a few dozen partners, campers and park employees. The new park features nature inspired designs and ADA-accessible equipment. The playground was funded in part by Copper Shores Community Health Foundation’s 2024 Community Recreation and Facilities grant.

Baraga Playground 2Campers and community members gathered to celebrate and experience the playground after years of work, and days of eyeing up the completed project. It took but a few seconds for kids to make their way to the equipment, quickly filling the air with laughter.

“We actually got an award for the design of this playground because of the accessibility components,” Baraga State Park Western U.P. Recreation Programmer Kelly Somero said. “Any child should be able to enjoy this playground, and that’s why there are so many different components and elements.” 

The equipment is multileveled, with elements for developing bodies and brains. Sensory and tactile equipment can be found along the lower levels of the equipment, a transfer platform and other structures made for children with mobility aids sprinkle the edges, all capped by a slide made to resemble a waterfall and a climbing wall reminiscent of local bluffs.

The highly anticipated playground had been in the works for nearly two decades, with its completion marking a career achievement for many park rangers. Though funding was approved in 2019, the project was brought to a halt by the onslaught of COVID-19. Copper Shores, along with several other community partners, have been eager to return to, and complete the playground.

“This is an example of the standard of what a community playground should and could look like,” Copper Shores President/CEO Kevin Store said. “The park service has a lot to be proud of. Their persistence paid off. They took the time to look at all the sensory needs of children within the design.”

Baraga Playground 1The playground has many new features, but was built to stand the test of time. With a sturdy base, padding, turf and accessibility considerations built in, the playground is sure to stand the test of time and child safety.

As a part of a larger effort to bring recreation opportunities to Baraga County, the new playground equipment at Baraga State Park serves as a safe and clean gathering space for families and visitors alike. 

While the park is located within the Baraga State Park, it is open to the entire community. People with DNR Recreation Passes can drive in and park in front of the new playground, and anyone is able to enter the park on foot or bike. 

The playground is built along the Keweenaw Bay Non-Motorized Pathway, which connects the Village of Baraga Marina to Baraga State Park and runs just over one mile. Phase two of the pathway was recently opened on Monday, July 1, 2024, meaning community members can walk to and from the park safely.

Learn more about granting opportunities at Copper Shores at

Photos from Grand Opening Event

Emilie Jacques

Emilie Jacques

"I graduated from Michigan Tech with a B.S. in Psychology, a minor in Communication Studies, and a minor in Media Production. I love the outdoors and DnD." You can reach Emilie at