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Kirtland's Warbler and Jack Pine Wildlife Tours

Area Status: Not Cleared

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.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Maintained Apr. 15 to Oct. 31. Self-guided auto tour is on main roads. Roads are plowed in winter, sites are not.
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: January 1 - December 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.


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.




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Nature Viewing

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Outdoor Learning

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Scenic Driving

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Parking 3 vehicle capacity - at each site