About the CMUBS

Purchased for $1 in 1942 from the Michigan Conservation Land Division, the then Central Michigan College of Education intended the property for educational use but did not initially develop the site until 1959. Construction on the main lodge began on July 1, 1959, and once the main lodge was completed, the station could formally open. Classes were offered during the summer terms beginning in 1960. Over the years, with the additional assistance from grants received from the National Science Foundation and private donor support, the station has expanded to include the lodge with dining hall, dormitories, a classroom building with auditorium, library and teaching labs, research labs, faculty/staff housing, a pole barn, additional cabins and a campground.  In 2006, CMU purchased the decommissioned Coast Guard boathouse on Whiskey Point, providing a deep water dock for the Research Vessel Chippewa, and two Zodiacs. Donor support also enabled CMU to purchase Miller’s Marsh, and provided the deed to Egbert Farm.  

Where is the CMU Biological Station? 

The field station is located on Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan, 22 miles northwest of Charlevoix.

A map showing the locations of the CMU Biological Station and the accompanying trail system on Beaver Island. 

Summer employment opportunities  

Since the founding of the station, student workers have been crucial to its operations. The station staff hire student workers every summer season to work with Facilities Management (grounds crew) and the kitchen staff. Students are also hired to serve as the operations assistant to assist the station manager, and as the conference hall director to oversee the dorms and organize social events. Check listings with Student Employment Services in early spring semester for the summer job postings for the CMU Bio Station.  

Travel and transportation to the station 

Individuals must make their own transportation arrangements to the station, which can be reached from Charlevoix, Michigan. Ferry services and air taxis are available to transport you to Beaver Island and the Central Michigan University Biological Station.   

College students and all other adults are responsible to make their own ferry or flight plans, and must inform the station staff of these plans to arrange transport from the ferry dock or airport. High school students registered for Bio 100Z will be met at the BIBCO ferry dock in Charlevoix by a CMU representative to assist with travel.  

  • Students should board the 2:30 p.m. ferry the day before the scheduled class start date (Sunday at 2:30 p.m. for most students). Students will be returned to the ferry dock in St. James as specified on the specific course schedule. 

  • During registration, groups and researchers must let CMUBS know the time of their departure from Charlevoix and their transportation carrier. 

  • If your plans change, please call 231-448-2325. 

Beaver Island Boat Company 
103 Bridge Park Drive 
Charlevoix, MI 49720 
231-547-2311 or 888-446-4095 

  • Arrive at the ferry dock 1.5 hours before departure to purchase your tickets 

  • Boarding begins 20 minutes prior to departure 

  • The ferry ride to Beaver Island is approximately 2.5 hours 

Fresh Air Aviation, Inc. 
06918 Old Norwood Road 
P.O. Box 328 Charlevoix, MI 49720 
Fresh Air Aviation 

  • Arrive at the airport about 45 minutes before your flight 

  • The flight to Beaver Island takes approximately 20 minutes 

Island Airways 
111 Airport Drive 
Charlevoix, MI 49720 
800-524-6895 or 231-547-2141 
Island Airways 

  • Arrive at the airport about 45 minutes before your flight 

  • The flight to Beaver Island takes approximately 20 minutes 

On the island 

  • All scheduled class arrivals will be met by CMUBS staff. 

  • All transportation to and from the airport or ferry dock on the island will be provided by CMUBS. 

  • Vehicles are available for use by classes, groups and researchers. 

  • Potential drivers of university vehicles must submit their name and drivers license number during registration. 

  • CMUBS does not provide vehicles for personal use. 

  • Students taking classes may bring a bicycle or a vehicle (contact Beaver Island Boat Company for more information). Please inform CMUBS staff you will be bringing a bicycle or vehicle two weeks prior to your arrival. 

Vehicle parking 

Vehicles can be parked in Charlevoix for the duration of your stay at CMUBS. Parking rates and locations are available through the Beaver Island Boat Company office and the airports – check with your transportation carrier to arrange for long term parking.