Special Places

Many visitors have a particular area that they are particularly attached to, a favorite campsite or a special fishing location.  Below are some areas that are special and unique to the Huron-Manistee National Forests. 

Highlighted Areas

Au Sable National Scenic River

Au Sable National Scenic River

The Au Sable National Scenic River, is a 23-mile portion of the Au Sable River that stretches from Mio to Alcona Pond. President Ronald Reagan signed the law establishing the segment of river as a National Scenic River on October 4, 1984.  By receving this designation, this free-flowing segment from below Mio Pond to the upper end of Alcona Pond received national recognition for its outstanding and remarkable scenic, recreational, biological and historical values and a national commitment to its protection.  People have enjoyed the scenic beauty of the Au Sable for hundreds of years.

In pre-European settlement times, Native Americans used the river as a travel route.  After European settlement of the area, the Au Sable River was a major throughway for floating white pine to sawmills or waiting barges at ports on Lake Huron. During those years many of the logs and fallen trees that littered the river were carried downstream with the harvested white pine. In recent years efforts have been made to replace logs in the river to help reduce erosion and maintain the world-class trout fishing river as an aquatic habitat.

Brochure with map:  This brochure is set to print on 11 x 17 paper, landscape (wide) orientation.  To print on 8 1/2 x 11 paper set the print area to "shrink to printable area", this will make the text on the page smaller.

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Kirtland's Warbler and Jack Pine Wildlife Tours

Kirtlands Warbler

Self-Guided Jack Pine Wildlife Viewing Tour

The Jack Pine Wildlife Viewing Tour is a self-guided, 58-mile auto-tour through jack pine ecosystems that are home to a variety of wildlife, including the endangered Kirtland's warbler. The tour is marked with signs that display an image of the Kirtland's warbler and the watchable wildlife symbol.  Along the route are also opportunities to stop at one of the many recreation sites available to access the Au Sable River.

Along the route there are many examples of wildlife habitat. Interpretive signs discuss specific management methods at the five stops. Occupied Kirtland's warbler habitat is closed to public entry during nesting seasons to protect the birds.  Closed areas will be posted with signs.

Maps are available at the Mio Ranger Station.

Guided Kirtland's Warbler Tours

Kirtland’s warbler tours will be offered daily from May 15 through May 31, 7 days a week at the Mio Ranger District of the Huron National Forest.

Guided Kirtland’s warbler tours are the best opportunity to view this endangered songbird, as Kirtland’s warbler nesting areas are closed and posted against public entry during the nesting season.  Kirtland’s warblers are rarely seen in Michigan outside of their nesting habitat.

The Kirtland’s warbler tour begins at 7:30 am at the Mio Ranger District office at 107 McKinley Road.  Please arrive at 7:15 am to check in and pay before the tour begins.  The tour begins with a short video that highlights the natural history and management of the Kirtland’s warbler.  The tour participants then follow the tour guide in their own vehicle to a field site.  At the field site, participants have an excellent chance of seeing a Kirtland’s warbler, as well as other birds that live in the jack pine habitat.  The tour participants visit a cowbird trap and learn about the jack pine ecosystem.  The entire tour lasts approximately three hours.

Tour participants are encouraged to bring binoculars.  Tape recorders, pets, and smoking are not allowed on the tour.  Reservations are not required, but are recommended for groups of four or larger.  The Kirtland’s warbler tour costs $10 per adult and is free for children.  Funds from the tours help cover costs associated with the tours.  For more information, call the Mio Ranger District office at (989) 826-3252.   Interested community groups and teachers can arrange for a free tour by contacting Kim Piccolo, (989) 826-3252 ext. 3334 or email.

Tours will be available at Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling through the Michigan Audubon Society. For more information on Grayling tours, contact Wendy at wendy@michiganaudubon.org or 517-580-7364.


North Country National Scenic Trail

North Country National Scenic Trail

Did you know that the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST) passes through three National Parks, eight National Forests, and one National Grassland?

The North Country National Scenic Trail is being constructed across federal, state, county and private land.  Upon completion the trail will extend from Crown Point, New York to Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota.  It will be the longest, continuous hiking trail in the United States.

The 128.8-mile portion of the NCNST that goes through the Manistee portion of the National forests has 15 spur trails to other forest hiking and interpretive trails.

The NCNST is marked with blue rectangle-shaped blazes.  Connector trails are marked with white rectangle blazes on trees.  For information on the NCNST visit the National Park Service www.nps.gov/noco/index.htm.

 

Brochure with map:

This brochure is set to print on 11 x 17 paper, landscape (wide) orientation.  To print on 8 1/2 x 11 paper set the print area to "shrink to printable area", this will make the text on the page smaller.

 

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River Road National Scenic Byway

River Road National Scenic BywayThe twenty-two mile River Road National Scenic Byway extends westward from Lake Huron into the Huron National Forest. It parallels the historic Riviere aux Sable (River of Sand). The Au Sable River was a major transportation route for floating Michigan’s giant white pine from forest to the sawmill towns on Lake Huron. You can learn more about this lumbering history at Lumbermen’s Monument Visitor Center that sits at the center of the byway.

Byway travelers will find abundant recreation opportunities, from motorized trails for off-road vehicles and snowmobiles to quiet trails for hiking and cross-country skiing. Camping, fishing and boating facilities are accessible from the byway. For a more relaxed experience, visitors will enjoy the lush forest and breathtaking vistas from the many scenic overlooks along the route. Visit www.byways.org for more information.

For information on Lumberman's Monument, Monument Campground or the Visitor Center visit the Lumberman's Monument section of the website.

Brochure with map:

  • River Road National Scenic Byway (pdf) - this brochure shows River Road, the Au Sable River and Lumberman's Monument
  • Highbanks River Trail Map (coming soon)
  • Eagle Run Trail Map (coming soon)

The brochure is set to print on 11 x 17 paper, landscape (wide) orientation.  To print on 8 1/2 x 11 paper set the print area to "shrink to printable area", this will make the text on the page smaller. The trail maps are set to printon 8.5x11 paper.

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Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary

Loda Lake - Wildflowers

Loda Lake is an area that includes a small spring-fed lake, a bog-like wetland area, a creek and riparian marshy areas, oak forest, pine plantations, and an early successional old farm site.  Botanist Clayton Bazuin noted, “Loda Lake is ideally suited as a wildflower sanctuary and although near one of Michigan’s busy highways, can still be a natural reservoir of wild plants. This is due to the large number of ecological associations it affords in which they may survive".

Loda Lake is the only Wildflower sanctuary in the National Forest System, a project supported both financially and botanically by the Federated Garden Clubs of Michigan for over seventy years.

Brochure with Map This brochure is set to print on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, landscape (wide) orientation.

Flickr Albums -

 


Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area

Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area

The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area is a Federally designated wilderness in Michigan's lower peninsula and encompasses 3,450 acres of National Forest.

Nordhouse Dunes is part of the Ludington Dune Ecosystem, which also includes Lake Michigan Recreation Area, and Ludington State Park.  The dunes were formed 3,500 to 4,000 years ago and stand up to 140 feet high.  Ludington Dune Ecosystem has the largest area of fresh water interdunal ponds in the world.  The interdunal ponds, small water holes and marshes, decorate the area.  Dune grass covers many of the dunes and provides habitat for a variety of wildlife species.

The Nordhouse Dunes are interspersed with woody vegetation such as juniper, jack pine and hemlock.  Plant life is varied and includes the Federally Endangered Pitcher's Thistle.  The sand beach along the lake varies from narrow to wide and is home to the Federally Endangered Piping Plover, a shore bird that nests on the ground in small cobbles.

The wilderness area is popular for hiking, camping, hunting, nature study and wildlife viewing.  There are approximately 10-miles of trail that can be accessed from 2 developed trailheads at the end of Nurnberg Road and Lake Michigan Recreation Area.

For more information on the Ludington Dune Ecosystem visit the MI-DNRE website.

Brochure with Map: This brochure is set to print on 8 1/2 x 14 paper, landscape (wide) orientation.  To print on 8 1/2 x 11 paper set the print area to "shrink to printable area", this will make the text on the page smaller.

Flickr Photo Album