Ottawa Visitor Center

nullOpen 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 will lead to safe, wise and caring use of the Forest.  The facility is packed with interpretive exhibits and animal mounts explaining the Forest's natural and cultural history.  We offer a large selection of educational videos to be viewed in our auditorium; Thursday Evening Programs throughout the summer months; group conservation education programs, upon advanced request; as well as an interpretive nature trail.  The Visitor Center and interpretive trail are fully accessible, and no fees are charged for admission to the Center, or to attend our interpretive programming.

Also located within the Center is the "Bear's Den" sales outlet, operated jointly by the USDA-Forest Service and the Ottawa Interpretive Association.  The "Bear's Den" offers many environmental books, Ottawa apparel, unique gifts and other nature-related items for purchase.  Proceeds from these sales, after expenses, go back to the Ottawa National Forest in the form of grants for interpretive projects around the Ottawa.

Available at the Ottawa Visitor Center:

Hours of Operation

 Summer Hours Beginning May 21, 2018

   Open daily, 9:00 a. m. to 5:00 p. m. (CDT).  Open until 8:00 p.m. on Thursday evenings for programs.

Visitor Programs

Photo:  Visitor Center DisplayOur large, air conditioned, auditorium comes equipped with a state-of-the-art video system, which is perfect for viewing any of our educational videos.  We offer a large selection of topics, which can be viewed on request.  Videos range in length from a few minutes to several hours.  Join us weekly during the summer for our Thursday Evening Program series, generally from late May through August.  Thursday evening programs feature a new topic each week and last approximately one hour.  Topics in the past have included wildlife, photography, history, weather, and forest management.  Upon advanced request, we can also provide conservation education programming for your group.  To request conservation education programming for your group, call 906-358-4724.  There is no charge to participate in any of these activities.

2018 Summer Program Brochurepdf

Educational Video Listpdf

Interpretive Areas

Photo:  Visitor Center DisplayLearn about the natural resources, the history of the area, and the people who call this area home.  An extensive collection of animal mounts give the visitor glimpses of the many species that make their home in the wild and remote area of the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Interactive displays provide learning activities for visitors of all ages.  Try the "Scavenger Hunt" for a rewarding challenge.  Fully accessible, there is also an audio tour available upon request.

Contact Us

To learn more about programs, or other upcoming events, please email or call our staff at 906-358-4724.  You can also visit our webpage for more information.   We look forward to seeing you!


Located at E23949 US 2 East, Watersmeet, MI; at the intersection of US Highway 45 and US 2.  Access to the site is on US 2, east of the 4-way stop.