Special Places

Highlighted Areas

Sylvania Wilderness and Recreation Area

WARNING: ROAD WORK SUMMER 2015, Anticipated status for 2015 summer season:
Clark Lake Boat Landing- OPEN
Clark Lake Day-Use building- OPEN, date TBD
Sylvania (Clark Lake Campground)- OPEN
Crooked Lake Road and Boat Landing- UNDER CONSTRUCTION, CLOSED after June 15

A major road construction project occurred during summer 2014. Final asphalt surfacing will take place in 2015 once load limits are lifted and weather permits, causing the road to Clark Lake, Clark Lake Campground, and the Clark Lake Day-Use area to be closed for a few days so the project can be completed. This will likely occur in June. The roads will open as soon as this work is completed. The closure may happen on short notice, so please call for updates. The Clark Lake Campground will be OPEN for the season. The Clark Lake Day-Use Building is planned to be open the season, though the opening date is uncertain. The building is undergoing complete renovation with finishing touches needed before it can open for the 2015 summer season. After June 15 (tentative), the Road to Crooked Lake will be CLOSED for the season.

For current road, campground, and day-use building status, please calls the Sylvania Entrance Station 906-358-4404 (open May 15th) or the Ottawa Visitor Center 906-358-4724.
 

The Sylvania Wilderness and Sylvania Recreation Area, is located near Watersmeet, Michigan and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Combined with the adjacent Recreation Area, this 18,327 acre wilderness offers an outstanding experience for those who want to camp, fish, hike, canoe, ski, or enjoy the solitude of a wilderness experience. Few Wilderness compare to Sylvania. Here you will find 34 named lakes - some with sandy beaches, others surrounded by record-sized red and white pines. This large natural area with its old growth forest and pristine lakes provides habitat for a wide range of living things. While exploring Sylvania you might see threatened or endangered plants and animals. Camping is permitted at designated sites by permit only. Permits can be obtained on a walk-in basis at the Sylvania Entrance Station or can be reserved by selecting "Sylvania Wilderness BCTRY Camp" through Reserve America on line at www.recreation.gov. Reservations can also be made by calling toll free, 1-877-444-6777. International calls can be directed to 518-885-3639 and TDD calls to 1-877-833-6777.


Ottawa National Forest Visitor Center

The Ottawa Visitor Center is located at the junction of US 2 and US 45 in Watersmeet, Michigan.  A new Ottawa National Forest film presentation showing the beautiful north woods through the seasons is shown every half hour daily during the summer months, with special interpretive programs on Thursday evenings beginning in June. The center is fully accessible and features exhibits, interpretive association sales outlet, and a nature trail. There is no charge at this facility. The Ottawa Visitor Center has been open to the public since May 1971. The mission of the Center is to foster understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the natural, cultural, recreational, and wilderness resources of the Ottawa National Forest. Through interpretive programs and displays, our goal is to help build public understanding and appreciation of our natural resources that leads to safe, wise and caring use of the Forest


Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness

The Wild and Scenic Sturgeon River rushes out of the northern portion of this wilderness, over the 20 foot volcanic outcroppings of Sturgeon Falls, and through a gorge that reaches 350 feet in depth and a mile in width. Throughout this rugged, steep Wilderness, the Sturgeon and Little Silver Rivers and their tributaries have carved falls, rapids, ponds, oxbows, and terraces. Stunning views are possible from the eastern rim of the gorge. Except for a few naturally bare slopes, most of the land is forested with pine, hemlock, aspen, sugar maple, birch, and basswood. When the leaves of the hardwoods change color in the fall, they form a vivid tapestry. There are few established trails in Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness, and the few overgrown logging roads are hard to find and follow. The North Country National Scenic Trail parallels the northern and eastern boundaries for about eight miles. Sturgeon River Campground offers seven sites on the southeastern boundary. In spring and during peak runoff, kayaking and white water canoeing are challenging, and only recommended for advanced paddlers.


McCormick Wilderness

Three generations of McCormicks, the descendants of Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the reaping machine, held the deed to this area before Gordon McCromick willed the land to the U.S. Forest Service. McCormick Wilderness has recovered from the logging era that ended in the early 1900's. Today, you'll find a mixture of northern hardwoods and lowland conifers interspersed with small patches of towering white pine, Michigan's State Tree. Straddling the divide between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, this region ranges from nearly level terrain to rocky cliffs. McCormick's water is what draws most visitors, with the Huron, Dead, Pahokee, and the Wild and Scenic Yellow Dog Rivers all have part of their headwaters within the wilderness. Many cascading waterfalls on the Yellow Dog make it unnavigable. The Yellow Dog is one of a few Eastern rivers designated "Wild". Eighteen small lakes add sparkle to the landscape. Trout, pike, and bass live here, but only in small numbers due to the less-than-fertile-waters. The three mile White Lake Trail connects County Road 607 to White Deer Lake where the McCormick Estate once stood. Remnants of old, unmaintained trails can sometimes be found, but the rest of the Wilderness is fairly rugged, isolated, unspoiled, and relatively difficult to access.


Lake Ottawa Recreation Area

Lake Ottawa Recreation area is in a beautiful forested northwoods setting located 5 miles southwest of Iron River, MI, on the Iron River Ranger District.  Located in the general area is Lake Ottawa, Brule Lake, Hagerman Lake, Brule River, Bass Lake, the Historic Mile Post Zero/Treaty Tree, The Ge-Che Trail, and miles of hiking trails.  Lake Ottawa Campground is 95% surrounded by National Forest System Land and offers a picnic shelter with two stone fireplaces and original log picnic tables, and two log toilet buildings, which were constructed by the CCC in the late 1930's. A pressurized water system and sewage dump station is located in the campground. Adjacent to the campground is a CCC era day use recreation building, with flush toilets, swimming beach, accessible fishing pier, playing field, picnic areas and boat launch.

For guidelines regarding use of the Day Use Pavillion, check out the attached document:  Lake Ottawa Day Use Guidelines.