Kirtland's Warbler and Jack Pine Wildlife Tours


Area Status: Open

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.

 

Guided Kirtland's Warbler Tours

Michigan Audubon Guided Tours: see the Michigan Audubon Kirtland warbler Tour web page for details.

Self-Guided Tours:  The Mio Ranger District has established a self-guided Jack Pine Wildlife Viewing Tour (see links above). 

Please note:  Kirtland's warbler breeding areas are closed to entry during the breeding season (typically in mid-May) because this ground-nesting bird is sensitive to disturbance. However, forest visitors are welcome to bird for Kirtland's warblers from the roadsides. If further assistance is needed locating breeding areas, the Mio Ranger District office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 4:00.

Find Out More

Learn more about the Kirtland's Warbler.  

Enter our Kirtland's Warbler Young Artists Contest.

Like our Facebook page to stay up to date on KW activities. 

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Annual services at the site will resume for spring on April 15
Area Amenities: Parking
Fees: No Fee
Permit Info: Special Use Permit -
  • No special use permit is required for individuals or small groups.  However, larger groups are encouraged to speak with the Mio Ranger District to schedule a guided tour.
Open Season: April 15 - October 31
Usage: Light
Best Season: May 15 - July 10
Restrictions: Forest-wide Closures - Kirtland's Warbler Habitat -
  • Kirtland's Warbler habitat is closed to public entry during the nesting season. Contact the Mio Ranger District prior to taking the self-guided tour for more information. 
Au Sable River Corridor - Camping -
  • Camping is prohibited in the AuSable National Scenic River Corridor on the Huron-Manistee National Forests, except at designated campgrounds or campsites.
  • Using a designated campsite or other area described in the order by more than 10 persons at one time is prohibited.
Closest Towns: Mio, McKinley, Glennie, Curtisville
Operated By: Mio Ranger District - (989) 826-3252
Information Center:

General Information

General Notes:

Location -  Kirtland's Warbler Habitat

Nearby Recreation Areas -  

  • Au Sable River    

County -  Oscoda, Alcona

Seasonal and Other Information -

  • These sites are not gated during the off season.
  • These sites are not maintained in the off season:
    • Access roads and/or parking lots are not plowed.

Directions:

From Grayling -

Clear-cut -

  • Travel east on M-72 for 30 miles. 
  • Turn left and travel north on M-72/M-33 for .5 miles. 
  • Turn right and travel east on McKinley Dr./F-32 for 7 miles.
  • Turn ____ and travel ____ on Old State Rd./F-32 for 7 miles.
  • The site is located on the right.

Ecosystem Management Area -

  • Travel east on M-72 for 30 miles. 
  • Turn right and travel south on M-33 for 6 miles. 
  • Turn left and travel east on County Rd. 604/Curtisville Rd. for 16.5 miles. 
  • Turn left and travel south on Au Sable Rd. for 1 mile.
  • The site is located on the right.

Mack Lake Burn -

  • Travel east on M-72 for 30 miles.
  • Turn right and travel south on M-33 for 6 miles.
  • Turn left and travel east on County Rd. 604 for 4 miles.
  • Turn left and travel north on FR 4460 for 1 mile.
  • Turn left and travel west on County Rd. 489 for 1 mile.

Snags -

  • Travel east on M-72 for 30 miles. 
  • Turn right and travel south on M-72 for 6 miles.
  • Turn left and travel east on County rd. 604 for 6 miles.
  • The site is located on the left.

 


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Day Hiking

The Ruffed Grouse walk is a short, .6-mile walk through Ruffed Grouse habitat. 

Areas for Day Hiking at Kirtland's Warbler and Jack Pine Wildlife Tours

Viewing Wildlife

For more information on the Kirtland's warbler visit the Learning Center section on the Kirtland's warbler.

There are many areas on the forest for scenic viewing. 

The ultimate wildlife viewing experience is watching animals in their habitat.  Here are some helpful tips to become a wildlife friendly viewer:

  • Use the right tools - A field guide, a pair of binoculars and a camera.  Wear clothing that is appropritate for the season and activitiy.
  • Watch at dawn and dusk - This is the time when most wildlife species are active enough to view.
  • Keep your distance - Maintain a distance that is comfortable for the wildlife.
  • Stay quiet - Move slowly and quietly to increase your chances of viewing wildlife, and to avoid stressing the animals you wish to watch.
  • Do not feed the wildlife - There is plenty of food availale in the wild.  Human food can cause digestive problems, provide improper nutrition, and even kill an animal. 

 

An online version of the Michigan Wildlife Viewing Guide is available on the MI-DNRE website.

Special Feature Jack Pine Wildlife Viewing Tour

Areas for Viewing Wildlife at Kirtland's Warbler and Jack Pine Wildlife Tours

OHV Road Riding

A Spring birding route and a Fall color route. 

Interpretive Areas

Clear-cut -

This stop discusses Kirtland warbler habitat requirements. This area is a former clear-cut that was replanted with jack pine in 1997. This site would not be cut again for another 40 - 50 years.

Ecosystem Management -

This site discusses timber harvesting and jack pine ecosystem management for Kirtland`s warbler habitat creation. This is an older habitat area that will soon be to old for nesting Kirtland`s warblers. This area is a habitat mosaic where it is easy to see the different stages of jack pine habitat.

Mack Lake Burn -

This site discusses Kirtland's warbler habitat management.

Ruffed Grouse Walk -

This is a .6 mile walk through Ruffed Grouse habitat.

Snags -

This site discusses the leaving of standing dead trees for habitat purposes; why standing dead is left and what species it benefits. This site is close to the Mack Lake area, but is not specific habitat for the Kirtland`s warbler.

General Info:

Directions

From Grayling -

Clear-cut -

  • Travel east on M-72 for 30 miles. 
  • Turn left and travel north on M-72/M-33 for .5 miles. 
  • Turn right and travel east on McKinley Dr./F-32 for 7 miles.
  • Turn ____ and travel ____ on Old State Rd./F-32 for 7 miles.
  • The site is located on the right.

Ecosystem Management Area -

  • Travel east on M-72 for 30 miles. 
  • Turn right and travel south on M-33 for 6 miles. 
  • Turn left and travel east on County Rd. 604/Curtisville Rd. for 16.5 miles. 
  • Turn left and travel south on Au Sable Rd. for 1 mile.
  • The site is located on the right.

Mack Lake Burn -

  • Travel east on M-72 for 30 miles.
  • Turn right and travel south on M-33 for 6 miles.
  • Turn left and travel east on County Rd. 604 for 4 miles.
  • Turn left and travel north on FR 4460 for 1 mile.
  • Turn left and travel west on County Rd. 489 for 1 mile.

Snags -

  • Travel east on M-72 for 30 miles. 
  • Turn right and travel south on M-72 for 6 miles.
  • Turn left and travel east on County rd. 604 for 6 miles.
  • The site is located on the left.

 


Areas for Interpretive Areas at Kirtland's Warbler and Jack Pine Wildlife Tours

Scenic Driving

The Jack Pine Wildlife Viewing tour will take visitors on a driving tour around the Huron National Forest. 

Pavement Type for Parking Asphalt or Dirt/Gravel
Vehicle Clearence Low - Medium
Size Restrictions None
Corrals None

Amenities

Parking: 3 vehicle capacity - at each site

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Area/Length : 
58