2017 Wa Wa Sum Summer Retreat

Our 2017 Wa Wa Sum outing will be Thursday, July 13, through Sunday, July 16. Reserve your spot soon because this event, in the historic Wa Wa Sum Lodge on the banks of the Au Sable mainstream in Grayling, is a favorite among chapter members and can fill up quickly.

You can sign up for one, two or three nights; meals for Friday evening through Sunday lunch are provided. Rates have not changed: $155.00 for three nights, $115.00 for two nights and $65.00 for just Saturday.

Whether you’re seeking great fishing, great company, or the greatest porch with the most comfortable rocking chairs in Michigan, Wa Wa Sum’s got it.

What to expect:                                                                                          

Meals – Look forward to a light dinner Friday evening, a hot breakfast Saturday morning, bag lunches for Saturday fishing, steak dinner Saturday evening, a Sunday morning breakfast and bag lunch to take on the river for Sunday.

Fishing – Mid-July is traditionally slower fishing, but there are still hatches rising from the rivers. The lodge is on the Holy Waters section of the Au Sable mainstream, with the north and south branches of the Au Sable as well as the Manistee only minutes away.

Pitch in – We all share cooking and cleanup duties. There will be a sign-up sheet when you arrive.

Canoeing and Tubing – Kevin Gardiner, Wa Wa Sum caretaker, will happily spot one of the facility’s canoes or tubes for you (and happily accepts tips, too!)

Traditional tribute – Before Saturday evening’s dinner, gather on the porch for a celebratory toast to John Voelker, aka Robert Traver, legendary Michigan fisherman, judge, and author.

A little learning – For the past few years we’ve invited graduate students who spend summers at Wa Wa Sum researching our fisheries to share their studies with us. Usually we find some time on the porch before or after one of the meals. It’s always interesting. Attendance, of course, is optional.

What to bring

Please bring your own beverages.

No meals are provided Thursday. 

Sleeping arrangements are dorm style, so bring your own bedding (sleeping bags, sheets and pillows).

Bring your own wash clothes, towels, soap and shampoo, etc.

Sign up today

Email Tom and Connie Morse at tcmorse@sbcglobal.net. Send your payment to Char Hammond at 12245 Southgate Drive, Plainwell MI  49080.

Questions about the outing? Call Tom at 269-986-0671 or email him at tcmorse@sbcglobal.net.

More about Wa-Wa-Sum

Wa Wa Sum is a Michigan State University research and conference facility located on the Au Sable River six miles east of Grayling.  The name Wa Wa Sum means “Plain View” in the Ojibwa language and was given to the camp in 1905 by Chief David Shoppenagon, an Au Sable guide and woodsman.

At that time, because of the extensive logging of the region’s pine forests, the view from the high bank on which the camp is built was unobstructed for miles to the south. Since then, the forests have regenerated, slowly obscuring the view beyond the river. 

Chief Shoppenagon built the first building at the camp, now known as the Dining Room, in 1880. In 1897, Rubin Babbit, an Au Sable woodsman who later became Michigan’s first wildlife officer, built a second structure, now the Administration Building. These first buildings were constructed of red pine and tamarack logs and used as a fishing camp for a group of Toledo businessmen.

Other cabins of various sizes were added in later years: the Bullpen (1907); the Big Camp (1921/22); the Barn and the Guide’s Cabin (early 1930s).  The buildings and 251 acres of land were deeded to MSU in 1980 by owners Virginia Secor Stranahan and Frank Bell, descendants of two of the camp’s six original owners.

Kevin Gardiner, a descendant of Rubin Babbit, is the camp’s present caretaker. He is the third generation of his family to perform these duties.


Video-Conversation with Kevin Gardiner, Wa-Wa-Sum Caretaker  (link to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2wahA0r5As&sns=em

Directions for Wa Wa Sum:    https://www.google.com/maps/place/WA+WA+Sum/@44.6708495,-84.6115212,775m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xbc09315aaede24ec!8m2!3d44.6713179!4d-84.6103939?hl=en


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