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Passes, Permits and Fees
Outfitters and Guides
Motorized Trails - OHV and Snowmobiles
Nonmotorized Trails: Hiking, Snowshoeing, Cross-Country Skiing and Horseback Riding
Other Recreation Activities
Where is the entrance to the Huron-Manistee National Forests?
There is no one entrance to the National Forests as there are with National Parks. While on some maps it looks as if the Forests are large chunks of unbroken land, the Forest Service system lands are interspersed within chunks of privately owned or state owned land, creating a checkerboard of private and federal land across the northern portion of the lower peninsula.
There are multiple roads that lead into and out of the Forests. While this provides for better access into the Forests, it also means you need to make sure that you know what is Federal land and what is not. All of our maps provide ownership information and it is recommended that you obtain a map by visiting the Maps and Publications section before visiting.
How do I get weather alerts or emergency information while at a site?
Weather alerts can be provided by adding the zip code for the area you are visiting to your favorite weather app for your smartphone or setting up a weather service to send you emails or text messages for that area from their website. You can look up zip codes on the United States Postal Service website ZIP Code Look Up page.
Any closures, alerts or notices for the Forests are posted on our website in Alerts and Notices. These alerts can be set up as an RSS feed.
Cell phone/data coverage depends entirely on where you are. Some areas have better coverage than others. Some have no coverage at all. You will need to check with your carrier or look on your carriers website to see a coverage map to determine what your level of coverage would be in any given area of the Forests.
What Endangered and/or Threatened Species are on the Huron-Manistee National Forests?
There are a variety of Endangered, Threatened and Sensitive species on the Huron-Manistee. From the well-known Kirtland’s warbler and Karner blue butterfly to the Pitchers Thistle.
More information, along with links to additional information, are available in the Learning Center of the website for Kirtland’s warbler, Karner blue butterfly and Piping plover. Information on Endangered, Threatened and Sensitive plants can be found in the USDA Plants Database. More information on species in the Eastern Region of the Forest Service, which includes Michigan visit the Regional Threatened and Endangered Species Program website.
What Invasive Species are there? How do I find out more about them?
There are a variety of invasive species on the Huron-Manistee. Types of invasive species include insects, plants and wildlife. Examples of invasive species you will find include the Emerald Ash borer, purple loostrife, garlic mustard, and mute swans.
More information, along with links to additional information, are available in the Learning Center of the website.
Why are there flower gardens at some recreation sites?
The flower gardens that have been put in at several recreation sites are actually pollinator gardens. These gardens are native plant gardens that not only provide nectar for pollinating species, but also help reduce maintenance costs at recreation sites through no longer needing to mow. A brochure is available about pollinators and pollinator gardens: Pollinator Recovery Efforts on the Huron-Manistee National Forests. This brochure is available on the Maps and Publications page.
If you know the name of the site you wish to visit, you can use the search function to find the sites web page. If you are unsure of the sites name but know that it is a campground or a site on a particular river or trail, you can look for the site by either activity or area.
If you don't know of a particular site you want to visit, but do know what activity you are looking for, select the Recreation option on the left side navigation and just select the activity you are interested in. When this option is used, sites will be shown listed by the river, lake or trail they are near. Sites not near a river, lake or trail will be grouped together by general geographic proximity.
The recreation sites do not have street address. Directions are located on the recreation site pages, along with Latitude and Longitude. In some GPS/Navigation you will be able to put the cross streets or Latitude/Longitude in to get directions.
To print a recreation site page select print from your browsers options. The page will scale automatically to include all of the information on that page. Make sure to expand all of the activity information at the bottom of recreation pages so that it will print.
What rivers do I need a watercraft permit on and where can I get one?
Both the Pine National Scenic River and the Pere Marquette National Scenic River require watercraft permits from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. Information on the permits, including where to get one can be found on the Passes and Permits page of the web site
No other rivers require a watercraft permit.
Sites along any of the rivers on the forest that require a day use pass will show what sites require a pass on the rivers site page.
What is the difference between a Recreation Pass and an Interagency Pass?
Recreation passes and Interagency passes cover fees at Forest Service Recreation sites, depending on the type of site and the type of pass you have/need. Forest Recreation passes are for local use only, i.e. they are only good on the Huron-Manistee National Forests.
Interagency passes are good at most federally operated recreation sites in the country such as National Parks, Fish and Wildlife Refuges or Army Corp of Engineer recreation sites.
Recreation Enhancement Act Fee - More and more people recreate on national forests and grasslands every year. Meeting the increasing needs of these visitors, delivering quality recreation, heritage and wilderness opportunities, and protecting natural resources has become challenging.
The act defines three fee categories: Standard Amenity Fees (picnic areas, developed trailheads, destination visitor centers, high impact recreation areas - often covered by a day or annual pass). Expanded Amenity Fees (campgrounds, highly developed boat launches, swimming areas, special tours, reservation services), or Special Recreation Permits ( special events or trail systems - permits are issued when extra measures are required for natural and cultural resource protection or the health and safety of visitors).
Concessionaires are private companies that are contracted by the Forest Service to manage recreation facilities, such as campgrounds. Typically Concessionaires operate under a "Special Use Permit". The permits grant the private company the right to operate on and collect revenues from a certain recreation site. In addition, the private company is required to pay all normal operating expenses for that site. The permits are granted on a competitive basis through a bid process. Permits are issued under the authority of the Granger-Thye Act.
Where does the money for the Recreation Enhancement Act Fees go?
95% of the money collected through Recreation Enhancement Act Fees comes back to the forest. This money is then used in multiple ways to improve recreation sites across the forest, from annual maintenance work to improving sites.
During the late fall and winter months there are several campgrounds that are "closed by snow" or "not cleared". These campgrounds are not gated or closed during the off-season, but they are also not maintained or plowed. Their status will be set to "Unknown".
Camping is available at four campgrounds along the Shore to Shore Trail, one campground at Marzinski Horse Trail and one campground at Hungerford Recreation Area. For specific information on any of the trails for campgrounds visit the Horse Riding and Camping section of the web site.
We have more than eight (8) people, are there any group sites?
Several campgrounds have the option to get “double” sites, which are two single sites next to each other. There is a higher fee for double sites.
We also have several campgrounds with group sites, which are sites that can fit up to 50 people, depending on the campground. For a list of Group Campgrounds visit the Group Camping section of the website.
What are the restrictions for fishing on the National Forests?
The forest adheres to State licensing regulations, including size and quantity limits. Visit the MI-DNR web site for information on licensing, size and quantity limits. The state web site also has information on gear restriction streams and lawful fishing methods.
Where can I find information on what lakes/rivers/streams have what types of fish?
Information on the type of fish available has been added to the site page for each recreation site that has fishing, showing what fish are in each lake, river and/or stream. A fish stocking database is also available from the MI-DNR.
Walk-on ice fishing is allowed on National Forest System lands. No vehicles may be driven onto the ice of any lake, pond, stream or river on the National Forest. Ice fishing is done at the fisherman's own risk. The forest adheres to State licensing regulations, including size and quantity limits.
I have a disabled hunter permit, can I use this on National Forests System lands?
If you are a disabled hunter with a certificate from the state, that certificate is valid for state land ONLY and does not apply to National Forest land. All Huron-Manistee National Forests rules and regulations regarding off-road vehicles apply to everyone who wishes to hunt on national forest land.
Where can I find information on habitat for a particular species?
If you are interested in areas of the forest that have been recently cut, please contact the forest service office in the area you wish to hunt for information. We also have some maps available on our web site in the Maps and Publications section.
OHV’s and other motorized vehicles may only be operated on designated roads, trails or areas open to that use. To find what roads and trails are open to a particular use, visitors should obtain a Motor Vehicle Use Map. Visit the Maps and Publications section to determine the best way for you to get a copy.
Any road or trail that does not appear on the MVUM is not open to motorized vehicles.
Although county roads in Northern Michigan may be open to ORV use, that does not include Forest Service Roads.
ORV’s cannot be used for cross-country game retrieval.
ORV's can be trailered to and from nearby campgrounds; however, they cannot be ridden to and from nearby campgrounds.
For a full list of ORV regulations consult the MI-DNR ORV Handbook or the MI-DNR web site
Can I use my golf cart/Argo/Gator/etc. on National Forest trails?
Due to their width (57" +), most of these vehicles are wider than our trail system will allow (50") and will not be able to use the designated trails. Also, these vehicles are not street legal and cannot travel forest roads or two-tracks.
However, if the vehicle is registered as a snowmobile and has the proper trail sticker they may use snowmobile trails during the snow season.
NOTE: Using these tracked vehicles on snowmobile trails can become a safety issue because of the width of the vehicle. Our trails are 10' wide and have two-way trails. These track vehicles are 8' wide and will take up most of the trail, and can pose a problem with on-coming snowmobile traffic. Please be cautious of other trail-riders.
Nonmotorized Trails: Hiking, Snowshoeing, Cross-Country Skiing and Horseback Riding
Where can I find a trail map?
Trail maps are located on the Maps and Publications Page. Maps are organized by which side of the Forest they are on – Huron (east) and Manistee (west).
We are in the process of updating our free, on-line maps to meet electronic accessibility requirements. We appreciate your patience as we work through this process. If a particular map has not yet been updated you can contact an office for a print version.
Most of the trails on the forest are designed and maintained to blend into the natural environment. Several trails are hard-packed native material that is wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or stroller for either the length of the trail or a portion of the trail. They are:
The Forest Discovery Trail at Lumberman's Monument - the whole trail is hard-packed and wide enough for assistive devices and strollers.
Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary - portions of the trail are wide enough for assistive devices and strollers.
North Country National Scenic Trail - a 1/4 mile section through Sterling Marsh has boardwalks wide enough to accommodate assistive devices and strollers.
Do I need a permit to collect edibles such as mushrooms?
You do not need a permit to collect edibles such as mushrooms or blueberries for personal use. Edibles collected for commercial use require a permit. To obtain a permit contact the Supervisor’s Office.
River maps are located on the Maps and Publications Page. We are in the process of updating our free, on-line maps to meet electronic accessibility requirements. We appreciate your patience as we work through this process. If a particular map has not yet been updated you can contact an office for a print version.