Learning Center

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Nature and Science

From endangered species to invasive species the National Forests abound with plant and animal life.  For instance, did you know the way to count a tree ring is to count only the darker circles?  Or that the smaller the rings, the less a tree grew that year? Did you know that the Kirtland's warbler only nests in Jack Pine?  Or that the Karner blue butterfly only eats Lupine? There is a lot going on in the forest!  To find out more about what's available right here in Michigan visit the Nature Viewing section of the website:  Nature Viewing or the Outdoor Learning section to find out what programs and displays are available across the forest.

Flickr Photo Albums


Lumberman's MonumentHistory and Culture


The history of the two forests begins long before the creation of either forest. The land that is now Michigan was once an unbroken forest, inhabited by numerous Native American tribes. After European settlement of the area, logging and farming became the main forms of occupation. Land that became the forests was heavily logged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The land that makes up the two forests is broken up by private land, especially on the Manistee National Forest. During the Great Depression land was bought by the Forest Service to help farmers and landowners and to inject money into the economy. However, some landowners only sold the unproductive land and kept the productive areas, thus breaking up the land purchases.

The Forest Service established the Huron National Forest in 1909. The Huron National Forest is 437,287 acres spreading 70 miles east to west and 30 miles north to south. The forest was renamed in 1929 after an Iroquoian tribe of the Great Lakes Region- the Huron's. The Manistee National Forest was established in 1938. The name comes from a Native American word meaning, "the whispering through the pines". The Manistee National Forest is 538,756 acres that spreads 40 miles east to west and 70 miles north to south. In 1945, the Huron National Forest and Manistee National Forest were joined for administrative purposes.

Flickr Album of Historical Photos from around the Huron-Manistee National Forests - 1800's to 1960's.


Leave No Trace logo.  Black circle with a green swirl, white text: Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics.Outdoor Safety and Ethics


The forest is for everyone.  And to ensure that it remains so, the Forest Service invites you to look over the provided information on Safety and Ethics.


picture from Get Outdoors Day 2010 at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI.  A father with two soons being shown a snake native to MI.Parents and Teachers

Activities on the Huron-Manistee

  • Take a hike on one of the trails around the Huron-Manistee, head over to Crystal Valley to see the aspen or walk around Wakely Lake and maybe see an eagle! Look around and see how many different colored mushrooms you can find, listen for the birds and look for turtles and frogs!
  • Take a drive to the Lumberman's Monument and see part of Michigan's lumbering history!
  • Paddle down the Au Sable or Pere Marquette! For a more adventerous trip, try the Pine!
  • Fish on one of the many rivers that run through the Forests!
  • Spend the day at one of our sandy beaches swimming!

Learning Resources for the Huron-Manistee

National Resources

US Forest Service Specific


Get Outside!

Lesson Plan/Activity Resources

NEEF Programs/Resources


History of Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary

Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary - wildflowers near barn ruins

Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary is home to over 230 identified species of wildflowers.  It is also the only wildflower sanctuary in the National Forest system.  In 1949 the sanctuary was officially established through a formal cooperative agreement between the Forest Service and Federated Garden Clubs of Michigan.

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White Nose Syndrome

Bats with white nose syndrome

Since it was first recorded in 2006-2007 in Upstate New York near Albany, white nose syndrome (WNS) has killed millions of hibernating bats in the caves and abandoned mines of eastern North America, and it is spreading inexorably into the South and Midwest.

Bats are vital components of many ecosystems and eat millions of insects, including biting insects and agricultural pests. Many bat species could be facing extinction due to the rapid spread of WNS, and many of these are federally designated endangered species, including the Indiana bat, gray bat, and Virginia big-eared bat.

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