More than 2.7 million acres of National Forest System land lies within Michigan’s two peninsulas in four National Forests administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.
Two National Forests are located In the Upper Peninsula, the Hiawatha (879,600 acres) in the eastern and central region and the Ottawa (927,440 acres) In the west; the Hiawatha National Forest Supervisor’s Office is located In Escanaba, and the Ottawa National Forest Supervisor’s Office is in Ironwood. In Lower Michigan, the Huron National Forest (425,460 acres) is found in the northeast and the Manistee National Forest (521,060 acres) is 1ocated on the west side of the Lower Peninsula. The-two forests share headquarters at Cadillac in the Huron-Manistee National Forests Supervisor’s Office.
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As one agency contributing to Michigan’s forestry Industry, the four National Forests make available nearly 158 million board feet of timber harvested annually. In 1983, for example, this figure included more than 35 million board feet of sawtimber or enough lumber to build 4,000 average-size homes and nearly 123 million board feet of pulpwood needed for the paper products industry. That pulpwood would amount to 245,580 cords or a stack of wood eight feet wide, four feet high and 186 miles long.
The National Forest of Michigan are popular recreation areas for year-round outdoor activities; their offerings range from rustic camping experiences and recreational trails to campgrounds and historic sites. The four National Forests record about 5.6 million recreationa1 visitor days’ use annually.
Each National Forest has unique plants and animals, Including sensitive, threatened and endangered species. All have been working to improve populations of the bald eagle, osprey and 1oons.
The Hiawatha National Forest has managed habitat for the greater sand hill crane for many years and is monitoring the status of and improving the habitat for the threatened lake sturgeon; it recently witnessed the reintroduction of the pine marten within its boundaries. On the Huron National Forest, work has focused on improving habitat for the Kirtland’s warbler, while the Ottawa National Forest has seen reintroduction of the fisher.
Interest has been shown in mfnera1 potential of the Hiawatha and Ottawa National Forests in the areas of oil and gas leasing and hard rock mineral exploration. This has been true for the Huron-Manistee National Forests as well, where active oil wells have been in place for many years.
Each or the four National Forests offers special areas of interest. The Hiawatha’s location on three of the Great Lakes makes It unique among the nation’s forests. It offers within its boundaries two Great Lakes islands, Round Island and Government Island, and numerous scenic inland lakes and streams.
The Sylvania Recreation Area, Black River Harbor and Sturgeon Gorge are special attractions on the Ottawa, while the Pere Marquette River - a National Scenic River - and the Caberfae Winter Sports Recreation Area are located on the Manistee. The Lumberman’s Monument and Visitors Center on the Huron National Forest also is a popular attraction.
ATTRACTIONS ON THE HIAWATHA NATIONAL FOREST
The Hiawatha National Forests expanses of Great Lakes coastline have added three historic 1lght houses to its numerous cultural resources. The Point Iroquois Lighthouse at Lake Superior’s Whitefish Bay on the Sault Ste. Marie Ranger District is being restored for use as a visitor information center.
On the St. Ignace Ranger District, the Round Island Lighthouse near Mackinac Island in the Straits of Mackinac was saved from crumbling into the waters by restoration work in the 1970s with the help of local organizations. The tower of the Point Peninsula Lighthouse on the Rapid River Ranger District gives visitors a vantage point for viewing Green Bay and Lake Michigan from Forest picnic grounds located at the tip of the Stonington Peninsula.
Also along the Lake Superior shoreline at the Bay Furnace Campground on the Munising Ranger Di~rict are the remains of a once-busy iron smelting town; today, a portion of the large blast furnace can be seen.
Hiawatha National Forest recreational trails are popular with a wide variety of users. The Bay de Noc-Crand Island Trail, following the route once traveled by early native people, offers 40 miles of scenic pathway for horseback riders, hikers and cross—country skiers. The Valley Spur and Rapid River Cross-Country Ski Trails are popular winter recreation routes on the Hiawatha, offering variety and challenge for all experience levels.
Stretches of the North Country National Scenic Trail pass through the Hiawatha National Forest as well as the Manistee and Ottawa National Forests.
- Map of Michigan National Forests
Map document opens up in new web browser window.
- Fall Color Auto Tour & Map
Scenic Autumn Auto Tour - Use the Hiawatha National Forest as a starting point for following the spectacular colors of fall, as they blaze their way south. Auto color tour information and area map.
- CCC Auto Tour - Civilian Conservation Corps Self Guided Auto Tour
This self-guided tour will allow you to go back in time and/or memory to days of the “Great Depression,” when folks were hungry and jobs were few.
Rapid River Ranger District
Rapid River, MI 49878
Manistique Ranger District
Manistique, MI 49854
Munising Ranger District
Munising, MI’ 49862
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