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Pretty Lake Camp gets handcrafted 10-person canoe in memory of former camper Hugh Davidson

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Janice & Dennis Davidson with canoe.jpg

Hugh Davidson often talked about his time at Pretty Lake Camp in the late 1930s and early 1940s, family members say.

So after Davidson died in 2013 at age 81, the family commissioned a handcrafted 24-foot, 10-passenger canoe to donate to the Texas Township camp in his memory.

The camp recently received the gift, which was build by NorthWest Canoe in St. Paul, Minn., a company owned and operated by Davidson’s son, Dennis.

Dennis Davidson said the canoe took 500 hours to build and “should last for 30 to 50 years.”

“This gift is a real testament to the difference that Pretty Lake Camp has made in children’s lives for nearly 100 years,” Michelle Karpinski, Pretty Lake executive director said in a press release. “The fact that, even decades later, Mr. Davidson spoke so fondly of his time at Pretty Lake Camp that it inspired his family to build and donate this beautiful wooden canoe to Pretty Lake Camp is very special indeed.”

North Canoes are historically significant because they were used during the fur trade era to transport pelts and trade goods between outposts on the Great Lakes, the press release said.  The Hugh Davidson North Canoe will be used for unique team-building experiences for campers and adults who participate in programs at the Camp and Adventure Centre.

Pretty Lake has been offering a no-cost summer camp experience to low-income children since 1916.  The camp serves more than 800 children in grades 3 through 11 each summer.

The site also is used for retreats and other events.

Davidson was born in 1931 in Kalamazoo, and was a graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School. He worked for 35 years as a master electrician at the Upjohn Co.

After his retirement in 1981, he and his wife, Janice, built a second home in Munsing.


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