Circling Four Winds Island

Four Winds Island stood out because it was once part of Camp Martin Johnson. What you can’t see in this picture are the four to five cabins that were part of the camp and they’re still there. The cabins remain unchanged. That is the only real remnant of the camp left with the exception of the basketball and Tennis Courts. I would have loved to camp out on that island. Of the five Islands on the lake this is the third largest. Less than 50 yards away is Turtle Island and sunken island is just to the east. The island’s name is probably the best of the five Islands on the lake.

What Did YOU Think of Camp Martin Johnson?

Let us know your memories of Camp Martin Johnson so those memories can live on forever here at Big Bass Lake and Beyond. What were your favorite activities and foods? What was the worst thing about camp if any? Who is your favorite counselor? Who was your favorite friend at Camp and why? How many years were you at camp? Did you take trips away from the camp? Did you go to Winter Camp at Ward Hill ski area? Do you have photographs you would like to share with us? My email address is Keep the memories of Camp alive. I noticed a Facebook page has seemingly closed down. If you want to check out our category Camp Martin Johnson, Four Winds Island, or Martin Johnson Heritage Museum search for your favorite things. Thank you!

Dusk at Four Winds Island

I can almost smell the campfire smoke coming from Four Winds Island. The boys from Camp Martin Johnson are at the campfire ring roasting marshmallows and having a grand old time. Their cabins await them for a good night sleep. There is even an outhouse on the island as this is an island that has everything. As campfire breaks up the boys head back to their cottages. For a time you can hear laughter and a few funny stories. They were even talking about the canoe race they had to the Big Bass Lake store. And then quiet followed by a little bit of snoring. Day is done gone the sun. A few crickets join in the celebration. In a few short hours another day dawns for more fun to happen.

Dark and Mysterious Turtle Island

Most people in the area know that this island is the near twin of Four Winds Island which was once owned by Camp Martin Johnson and that island does have buildings on it. But, Turtle Island is shrouded in more mystery. No structures are found there yet some people do camp on this island. Take notice of the fallen tree toward the side of this island. It extends its way into Big Bass Lake quite a few feet.

Here you can observe that fallen tree extending out into Big Bass Lake somewhat easier. I would also take it that it is in this area where most campers erect their tents. Or might it be on the open side of the island?

I would like to know something about the interior of Turtle Island. Is is marshy? Could a building be erected on it? How far is it from Four Winds Island? And, have any of our readers camped out on this island? Now, I’ve already dubbed Matson’s Island as Haunted Island so I don’t want to go so far as to rename this isle Mysterious Island but it is somewhat just that.

That is until some of my questions get answered. Besides Turtle, or Pirates Island as some call it, is such a tame name for this place. Mysterious Island makes one want to go out there and explore it. So, what’s stopping you from doing just that?

Four Winds Island and Turtle Island

The island in the Forefront is Four Winds Island and that was once part of Camp Martin Johnson. The island and the distance is Turtle Island and it is the second smallest Island on the lake. They are often called the twin Islands and Turtle Island is sometimes known now as Pirates Island. I really like the name Four Winds Island. That Island still has all the buildings from the Camp Martin Johnson era. Just think of all the memories that are lodged there. As far as the camp goes it has remained almost intact since the camp closed in 1976. In that way the camp has lived on into the present era. I think Martin Johnson would be smiling from heaven now.

Turtle Island- Part Two

I believe that I have solved the “Gap Theory” or at least the one between Turtle and Four Winds Islands.   I wonder what the depth of water is between these two northern most islands on Big Bass Lake?  Have any efforts ever been made to purchase Turtle Island from the Manistee National Forest?  It appears big enough to maintain one house. 

What is the actual distance between these two islands?  And, did Camp Martin Johnson ever utilize Turtle Island when they owned Four Winds?  How about for a primitive camping site?

Is there a good swimming area off of Turtle Island?  Again, my thanks to Big Buck for supplying the pictures and now how about someone else supplying some of the answers found on this post?  The comment box awaits you!

Big Bass Lake Twin Islands

These are the twin Islands on the north side of Big Bass Lake. The island to your left is Turtle Island which is the smaller of the two. The island on the right is Four Winds Island and for a Time was part of Camp Martin Johnson. Both boys and girls used that Island for lodging. All of the buildings used at camp are still standing today. Elsewhere at Big Bass Lake and Beyond there is a category called Camp Martin Johnson where you can find pictures of these buildings. You might also want to try the category Four Winds Island.

Council Fire at Camp Martin Johnson on Four Winds Island

I can almost imagine the beautiful scene at Four Winds Island during the council fire of Camp Martin Johnson. You could see the moon shimmer off the current of Big Bass Lake just behind the fire. The cool night air made you huddle fast around the fire. Ghost stories, songs, and laughter filled the air as campers and counselors sat around the fire and engaged with each other.

The island’s four buildings housed the campers that were fortunate enough to be part of the CMJ experience. Imagine! Living on your own island. Today that island is still inhabited by the current owners of that island and they utilize all of the island’s buildings in one way or another.

The buildings are still as rustic as they were in CMJ’s heyday although a little more worn for wear. None are insulated which would make them fit for winter. Thus the island stands deserted when the snow flies. Yet memory after memory must resound off the waters of Big Bass Lake for the times that were held there by campers and counselors alike. One would almost think you could hear ghostly echoes there from time to time.

East Section at Big Bass Lake

This is the entrance to the Narrows both north and south on Big Bass Lake. To your right you can just see the edge of Four Winds Island. To your left takes you to the other three Southern Islands on the lake. I don’t have too much more to say about this picture except it was a great venue for a photograph.

Looking West at Four Winds Island

This picture was taken just off sunken island. It shows Four Winds Island perfectly. This section of Big Bass Lake is the furthest east this lake goes. I’m not too far from the channel between big and little Bass Lake here. A few bear sightings have been in this area. So be careful out there if you’re in this area. Four Winds Island blocks out Turtle Island perfectly.

Relaxing at Sunken Island

What a beautiful hot day to be relaxing at Sunken Island. And what a view of Four Winds Island! Whenever I want to I can just step off my boat in the middle of the lake and being in only 2 to 3 feet of water. It’s so refreshing today. And behind me is the channel between Big and Little Bass Lake. Now and then I splash some water on myself just to keep cool as that sun is rather hot. It’s just another perfect day at Big Bass Lake.

Cruising Past The Northern Islands

Here is a lone speedboat about to pass the two northern islands on Big Bass Lake, those being Turtle and Four Winds Island. The former is still owned by the Manistee National Forest and brings a presence of that large mass of forest land to Big Bass Lake. The latter is now privately owned but was once a part of Camp Martin Johnson, that being Four Winds Islan.

Just to the east of these two islands is the passage between Big and Little Bass Lakes and in early August I will have a rerun of those classic posts bringing you many angles of that passage. Also just to the east of these islands is the Sunken Island where the water is only a few feet deep and is a populr venue for pontoon boats to anchor at. Lots of people like to swim in that area of the lake.

I would welcome any other pictures of Turtle Island which you can email to me at

Aerial Four Winds Island

Four Winds Island is almost a perfect circle. Now privately owned it was once part of Camp Martin Johnson. 6 original buildings still exist on the island from the camp days. It also has a campfire area. The second photograph is taken looking West from the East section of Big Bass Lake which leads to Sunken Island and the channel between Big and Little Bass Lake. Many bear sightings have been seen in this area. Noted author Ann Louise Chase lives in this section of the lake. Guess behind Four Winds Island is Turtle Island and they are known as the twin Islands.

What Four Winds Island Looked Like From Camp Martin Johnson

I have a photograph for you today from the perspective of Camp Martin Johnson looking out toward Four Winds Island. The camp utilized Four Winds Island what’s several structures on the island which still exist yet today. As you can see there was not a great distance between the camp and the island. I’m sure the campers miss their camp which was closed in 1976. You might not know this but camp Martin Johnson was the only camp in the United States to you own a ski resort and it was called Ward Hill Ski Resort. It was about 10 miles from the camp. This gave the camp an opportunity to have a winter session as well as summer sessions. Camp Martin Johnson Forever!