Wild west captured in deer farm turned agri-tourism resort

October 4, 2012 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA When you have over 200 beautiful white tailed deer fenced adjacent to a major road, people will stop and want to see them. That’s the experience of the Powell family, who opened their working deer farm in 2003. Located at 7850 14 Mile Road (M-57), their 80-acre business has received a lot of attention from passersby. They tried to accommodate curious visitors to the best of their ability, but the farm wasn’t really set up for tours. Now it is. Deer Tracks Junction is now open for business as a family destination with hands-on live animal interaction, a stage coach ride through the pens of hundreds of live and spectacular deer, a chance for kids to touch a real reindeer or baby yak, a play train with cars for climbing, crawling and exploring a three-level maze car, plus an indoor facility featuring spectacular mounts of caribou, Musk ox, wolves and an auditorium for live education shows featuring actors in costume. “Once you buy your ticket, you can just enjoy the day here,” said owner Kelly Powell, who operates Deer Tracks Junction with his wife Hilary and 16-year-old son Tyler. At just $10 a ticket, from the play train, the Stage Coach Ride, live shows, and life sized animal mounts to the different old-fashioned, Wild West stations within the Deer Tracks Junction building, the price is a great buy. He said he wants his working deer farm shows and tours to be affordable for families and believes visitors will support his vision. Other business people in the area believe the farm will add to the reasons people come to the area. The family made the decision to expand into what is called Agricultural tourism because it made sense to them on many levels. They hope to bring something unique, exciting and valuable to the area as a legacy and as a living. “It’s hard in Michigan right now,” said Powell. “I don’t want my son to have to leave the state to find a job.” Deer Tracks not only will be the future livelihood for Tyler, but offered the family the chance to hire others who help in the business. The work is seasonal, but at a recent job fair at the ranch […]