Wilwin Lodge is located near Trout Lake, Michigan. Nestled on 600 acres of Upper Peninsula forest, the facility is owned and maintained by the American Legion Michigan Chapter. The mission of Wilwin Lodge is to provide disabled veterans and their families a tranquil location for rehabilitation and therapy. The lodge specializes in treating veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries. The peace and quiet of the forest surrounding the lodge is perfect for providing ‘ecotherapy’ in a relaxing environment by offering free or low-cost accommodations to combat veterans and their families. VA Medical Center staff work with the lodge to provide care. There are rooms at the lodge, at a newly built annex, campgrounds, and over 10 miles of trails available for hiking, horseback riding, camping, and bivouacking.
The property has been used as a logging camp, a family hunting deer camp, and vacation spot. In 2009, Bob Considine donated the land to the American Legion. The Korean War veteran and Legionnaire wanted the 100 year-old lodge and land to be used as a therapeutic retreat for returning veterans, and the American Legion has worked since then to create the retreat Considine envisioned. Veterans who served in the Gulf War and more recent military operations can stay at Wilwin Lodge with their families for free. Veterans of earlier wars can stay for a small fee.
The eight-member board of Wilwin Lodge and volunteers have worked hard since receiving the land to create a peaceful, quiet retreat for veterans who served in the armed services. The mission faces challenges now with a new neighbor moving in – Graymont. The lodge is surrounded by one of the parcels of land The DNR just approved for sale to the limestone mining company, and the sound of blasting in the forest will become a reality when Graymont begins mining operations.
A spokesman from the Michigan American Legion, Ron Runyan, says they have been in contact with the DNR and Graymont, who were very accommodating when the American Legion, “voiced our concerns and explained the impact on providing care for veterans.” He then went on to say, “They are willing to work with us.”
Ecotherapy missions at Wilwin Lodge run from June through September. There are typically eight to ten of these missions during that time, Runyan explained that, “We will give Graymont advance notice, and they agreed not to conduct blasting during our missions.” Through continuing contact with the limestone company, Wilwin Lodge plans to continue their therapeutic care for returning combat veteran suffering from PTSD.
The Mission of Wilwin Lodge to provide therapeutic care for veterans in a serene outdoor, noise-free setting will continue, provided with the cooperation of Graymont. The Michigan American Legion deserves the support of the DNR and the state to make sure they can continue providing vitally important care for our veterans.