Frequently Asked Questions

General

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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.

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.

You can park at any of the day use areas across the Forests. You can also pull off along a road, as long as you pull far enough off the road to not impede traffic, no more than 25 feet

Yes, you may bring your pet with you. For their safety we recommend they be on a leash that is 6 feet long or less.  Dogs are not allowed on designated swimming beaches, and in the spring there may be some areas closed to dogs for the protection of Threatened and Endangered Species.

Employment

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Visit the Employment page for information on which jobs will be coming available and which jobs are currently open.

This can vary, but typically begin looking for seasonal (summer) position outreaches in the beginning of September the year prior, with applications due during the last two weeks of September. For example, if you would like a summer position for 2021, begin looking for application job announcements the last two weeks of September 2020.

The Forest holds a hiring event for student interns and recent graduates at the Society of American Foresters National Convetion each year, this event typically takes place the last weekend in October.Information on Socitey of American Foresters hiring is available on the agency website

All job applications must be submitted through USAJobs.gov.

Youth Conservation Corps are for students aged 15 - 18. We begin accepting applications for Youth Conservation Corp positions in March of each calendar year. Applications are available from all offices.

To set up a job shadow opportunity, contact one of our offices or email us.

GIS (Geospatial) Data

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A variety of data is available for the Huron-Manistee National Forests, from the Forest Service, state, and Great Lakes atlas. For links and more information visit the Geospatial Information page.

Datasets include boundaries, ownership, roads, trails, surface water and more.

Data is available in KML, ESRI geodatabase and shape file

Maps, Brochures and Publications

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Interactive Visitor Map - The Interactive Visitor Map is a work in progress. The Forest Service will continue to update it with additional information as it becomes available. The map currently includes information for most National Forest recreation sites and roads. Trail information is currently not available on the map. We realize that trail map information is important to our visitors and we’re working to make it available. As updated trail map information becomes available, it will be displayed on the map, forest-by-forest. In the meantime, please contact your local Forest Service office for trail information.

Travel Access Map - This interactive travel map supplements the corresponding motor vehicle use map (MVUM) by displaying on detailed color maps the National Forest System (NFS) roads, NFS motorized trails and areas on NFS lands that are designated for motor vehicle use on that MVUM, as well as nearby points of interest. The interactive travel map also allows visitors to search for designated roads, trails, and areas by vehicle class and time of year. The interactive travel map does not display designations for motor vehicle use for dispersed camping or big game retrieval. The interactive travel map does not replace the MVUM, which makes designations of roads, trails, and areas legally effective pursuant to 36 CFR 212.56 and 261.13.

Other on-line maps are listed on the Maps and Publications page.

Trail maps can be downloaded on the Maps and Publications page.

Contact one of our offices or email us.

Passes, Permits & Fees

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Firewood Permits & Christmas Tree Tags

Permits MUST be purchased in person. Visit one of our offices to purchase your permit. Information on firewood permits is available in the passes and permits section.

Visit EveryKidOutdoors.govfor information on how to get your free Christmas tree tag.

Burn permits are issued through the Michigan DNR by visiting the Burn Permit website operated by the DNR.

If your campfire will be on National Forest System lands you will not need a wood permit to cut firewood. If you will be removing firewood from the National Forest you will need a firewood permit.

Outfitters & Guides

Contact the Ranger District office in the area where you propose to conduct your services. Further information for being an Outfitter or Guide is provided in this brochure: Becoming an Outfitter or Guide on the National Forests.

Contact the Ranger District office in the area where the service is being provided.

Recreation - Passes, Fees & Concessionaire

Campgrounds

Recreation Enhancement Act Fee Campgrounds

Huron

Manistee

Concessionaire Operated Fee Campgrounds

Manistee

Day Use

Recreation Enhancement Act Fee Day Use Fee Areas

Huron

Manistee

Concessionaire Operated Day Use Fee Areas

Manistee

Trailheads

Recreation Enhancement Act Fee Day Use Fee Areas

Huron

Manistee

You only need a recreation pass at sites that charge a Recreation Enhancement Act Fee. If you are a site that doesn't charge a fee, you do not need a recreation pass.

Some sites charge a Concessionaire Fee instead of a Recreation Enhancement Act Fee. Recreation Passes are not valid at Concession operated sites.

For more information on which pass you may need visit the Passes and Permits section of the website for descriptions of what each pass covers.

No. You do not need a permit to camp on the National Forests. Some sites do require a reservation.

Both the Pine and Pere Marquette Rivers require a river permit. Visit recreation.gov to reserve your permit. Permits are required from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. Holidays and weekends tend to fill up first. Permit sales begin January 1 each year.

Fishing licenses are available through the MI-DNR. To obtain a fishing license you must contact the DNR or visit their web site

Hunting licenses are issued by the State. Visit the MI-DNR web site for more information on obtaining a hunting licence.

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.

None of the passes available will cover the fees at MI-DNR operated recreation sites, you will need a Michigan Recreation Passport for MI-DNR operated recreation sites.

For more information on which passes cover which uses visit the Passes and Permits section of the web site. This information will include what types of sites the passes can be used at, what the pass costs, and requirements for obtaining a pass if there are any.

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.

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.

No. Michigan Recreation Passports are only good at State operated campgrounds and parks, Forest passes are only good at sites on the Huron-Manistee and Interagency passes are only good at Federal recreation sites.

Note: For a list of state operated sites visit: MI-DNR Parks and Recreation

Special Use Permits - Event, Commercial, NonCommercial, & Road Easements

Special Use permits are needed for easements for electrical and utility lines, roads to access private property bound by National Forests, oil and gas pipelines, wells, minerals, water transmission, research, or for recreation events where an entry fee is charged.

Visit the Event and Commercial permit page for information on how to obtain a special use permit.

Noncommerical Road Use permits have their own Frequently Asked Questions. Please visit that page for any questions you have on road easements.

Planning, Projects & SOPA

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The Schedule of Proposed Activities is available on-line.

Potential projects vary greatly depending on what is needed where. Most projects include road management, watershed management, fuels management, forest prodcuts, recreation management and components of wildlife, fish and rare plant management and/or rehabilitation aspects.

To see what up-coming or on-going projects there are you can look at the Schedule of Proposed Activities or visit the Projects section of the website.

To comment on projects that are currently in the "Scoping" (also referred to as "Developing Proposal" or "Under Analysis") phase visit the Projects section of the website. From there select the project you wish to comment on. In the right side navigation, under "Get Connected" select the option to Comment/Object on Project.

Comments can also be submitted in writing to the address listed in the Comment/Object on Project information. This address varies depending on the location of the project and the office leading the project.

Comments, including anonymous comments, will be accepted at any time. However, comments posted after the close of a designated comment period may not be able to be given full consideration. Anonymous comments and comments submitted after the close of the final designated comment period will not provide the commenter standing for administrative review.

The current, 2006, Land and Resource Management plan is available for download. A paper or CD version are available by calling the Supervisor's Office or emailing us.

Programs and Events

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Events and programs can be found on the News and Events section of the website and/or posted to the Forest Facebook page.

Please call the Supervisor's Office or email us to find out which events we will be at.

Please call the Supervisor's Office or email us to invite us to your event.

Recreation

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General Questions

Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

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.

When you are on the page for a site and want more information on a specific activity offered at that site you need to click on the "+" (plus) sign near that heading to expand the information.

Except for Lumberman's Monument, 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.

The street address for Lumberman's Monument is 5401 Monument Road.

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.

There are two on-line maps available:

Interactive Visitor Map - The Interactive Visitor Map is a work in progress. The Forest Service will continue to update it with additional information as it becomes available. The map currently includes information for most National Forest recreation sites and roads. Trail information is currently not available on the map. We realize that trail map information is important to our visitors and we’re working to make it available. As updated trail map information becomes available, it will be displayed on the map, forest-by-forest. In the meantime, please contact your local Forest Service office for trail information.

Travel Access Map - This interactive travel map supplements the corresponding motor vehicle use map (MVUM) by displaying on detailed color maps the National Forest System (NFS) roads, NFS motorized trails and areas on NFS lands that are designated for motor vehicle use on that MVUM, as well as nearby points of interest. The interactive travel map also allows visitors to search for designated roads, trails, and areas by vehicle class and time of year. The interactive travel map does not display designations for motor vehicle use for dispersed camping or big game retrieval. The interactive travel map does not replace the MVUM, which makes designations of roads, trails, and areas legally effective pursuant to 36 CFR 212.56 and 261.13.

Other on-line maps are listed on the Maps and Publications page.

Yes, the Udell Fire Tower. For directions and information on the history of the tower please visit the Udell Fire Tower site page.

Camping

You can dispersed tent camp in the National Forests, with a few restrictions. For specific information on the restrictions for dispersed camping visit the Dispersed Camping section of the website.

No. You do not need a permit to camp on the National Forests. Some sites do require a reservation.

If your campfire will be on National Forest System lands you will not need a wood permit to cut firewood. If you will be removing firewood from the National Forest you will need a firewood permit.

Reservations can be made at recreation.gov

Huron

These campgrounds are on the east side of the state/east side of US-127

Manistee

These campgrounds are on the west side of the state/west side of US-127

Camping along any of these rivers, within the river corridor, is limited to designated campgrounds and campsites. For a full listing of campgrounds along each river please go to the rivers site page.

 Along these rivers you must be at least 200 feet from the shoreline of the river:

For information on non-campground camping on the National Forests visit the question on dispersed campingat the top of the campground section.

The following trails have developed campgrounds located on or near the trail:

Nonmotorized -

Motorized -

While all of our campgrounds are family friendly, we do have several campgrounds that offer amenities that appeal to children. Lake Michigan Recreation Area, located on Lake Michigan, offers a playground, beach, trail system and access to Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area.

Located along the Au Sable River, Monument Campground provides access to the Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center, which offers a nature trail, interpretive displays and a variety of kid friendly visitor programs.

If your children will enjoy swimming, there are several campgrounds that have small beaches. A listing of these can be found under Recreation Information for Water Activities.

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".

Winter Camping is available at: 

  • Au Sable River Primitive Camps
  • Meadows Campground
  • McKinley and River Road Campgrounds on the Shore to Shore Trail

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.

There are several campgrounds where you can camp with your RV, Trailer or Pop-up camper. A full list of these sites is located in the Camping and Cabins section of the website as RV Camping.

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.

Collecting & Gathering

Those activities are allowed on the National Forests, with some limitations. Information on gold panning, metal detecting and rockhounding is located under Recreation under Rocks and Minerals.

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.

Canoeing, Kayaking & Tubing

The float times and distances for each of the rivers is shown on that rivers site page, under Water Activities - Nonmotorized Boating.

Both the Pine and Pere Marquette Rivers require a river permit. Visit recreation.gov to reserve your permit. Permits are required from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. Holidays and weekends tend to fill up first. Permit sales begin January 1 each year.

Liveries that legally operate on the National Forests are listed on each rivers site page. Only liveries that operate on a particular river are listed on its site page.

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.

Fishing

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.

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.

Information on restrictions is shown on each recreation sites web page. Information is also available on the MI-DNR Gear Restricted Streams web page.

The Pere Marquette National Scenic River has sections that are fly fishing, catch and release only. Please visit the site page for more information.

For more information on fishing seasons, and other places fly fish visit the Michigan DNR’s Fishing site.

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.

Fishing licenses are available through the MI-DNR. To obtain a fishing license you must contact the DNR or visit their web site

Hunting, Target Shooting & Trapping

Hunting, trapping and target shooting are allowed on National Forest system land, with some restrictions. To find out more visit the Hunting section of the website.

Yes. Please visit the site page for Hunting for more information.

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.

No. 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.

ORV’s cannot be used for cross-country game retrieval.

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".

Winter Camping is available at: 

  • Au Sable River Primitive Camps
  • Meadows Campground
  • McKinley and River Road Campgrounds on the Shore to Shore Trail

Hunting licenses are issued by the State. Visit the MI-DNR web site for more information on obtaining a hunting licence.

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 that show aspen stands, with ages, for deer and turkey hunting.

Motorized Trails

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

Please visit the MI-DNR web site for information on obtaining an OHV Sticker.

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.

No. 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.

ORV’s cannot be used for cross-country game retrieval.

Snowmobiles can be ridden on any of the designated trails through the forests. Maps of snowmobile trails are available on the MI-DNR web site

For a full list of Snowmobile regulations consult the MI-DNRE Snowmobile Handbook or the MI-DNR web site

Please visit the MI-DNR web site for information on obtaining an Snowmobile Sticker.

Nature and Wildlife Viewing

Information on Kirtland warbler guided tours can be found on the Recreation section of the website.

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.

Nonmotorized Trails

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).

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.

A list of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails is available here.

Information on trails for Fat Tire Bikes is available here.

A list of trails open to horse use is located in the Recreation section: Horse Riding and Camping. This section also provides information on campgrounds that are open to horses.

For information on non-campground camping on the National Forests visit the question on dispersed campingat the top of the campground section.

The following trails have developed campgrounds located on or near the trail:

Nonmotorized -

You can mush on any unplowed/ungroomed seasonal road in the winter. If you are pulling an ATV you must contact the district you want to mush on ahead of time as you may need a permit.

Swimming

There are several sites with designated beaches

Except for designated swimming beaches, dogs can swim anywhere.

Timber Sales

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The timber sale schedule is available on the Resource Management page of the site under the heading "Scheduled Timber Sale Program".

Contact the Timber Program Contracting Officer at the Supervisors Office

Timber Sale documents are posted in the Resource Management section of the website.

Volunteering and Partnerships

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People interested in volunteering should contact the nearest Forest Service office or the Volunteer Coordinator in the Supervisor’s Office in Cadillac at (231) 775-2421 or email us.

People interested in partnering should contact the nearest Forest Service office or email us.

Wildlife, Invasive Species and Plants

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There are bear in the National Forests.  Visit the Bear Aware website for information on how to hike or camp in black bear country at Wildlfe Info.

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.

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.

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.

Information on Kirtland warbler guided tours can be found on the Recreation section of the website.

Don't see your question here? Send us an email and let us know your question.