Just for Kids

Two kids enjoying the forest.Welcome to your “Great Lakes National Forest!” If you’re looking for exciting outdoor adventures any time of the year, then Hiawatha National Forest is your playground. Camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, trail riding, hunting, skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling are just a few of the many activities available at the forest. Explore the opportunities below to do hands-on activities, learn about national forests and grasslands, and how to take care of these special places.

Programs at Hiawatha National Forest

  • Agents of Discovery LogoAgents of Discovery – Become a secret agent with a historic lighthouse as your guide, Agent Beacon, to solve challenges on a mission.  This free mobile game is move as you play to unlock hidden challenges based on your location. Mission sites include Murray Bay Day Use Area and Campground on Grand Island National Recreation Area and Peninsula Point Lighthouse near Rapid River. Before you come to the forest to start your mission, download the free app on App Store or Google Play. Once downloaded, it does not require any data or WiFi. Be sure to download in the Agents of Discovery app one or both of our mission sites – “Grand Island Ranger” or “Monarchs of Peninsula Point.”
  • Kids Fishing Days – This is a longstanding free event introducing youth 16 years old and under to fishing typically in the month of June. Thanks to the generous support of many partners and volunteers, the event includes a variety of family-friendly activities throughout the day such as raffles, minnow races, face painting, and fly fishing demonstrations. For more information, contact 906-428-5800.
  • Youth working at a past Youth Archaeology Workshop.Youth Archaeology Workshop – Most summers, the forest offers a one to two day hands-on archaeology experience for Alger and Marquette County youth between the ages of 11 and 17. Participants gain a new understanding of area history and the importance of protecting cultural resources as they participate in an actual survey on a national forest with an archaeologist. For more information, contact 906-428-5800
  • Signature Partner Summer Camps – Sign up for one of our annual partner summer camps to get into the forest and surrounding public lands to recreate in them and learn all about them.  The Hiawatha Interpretive Association hosts the More Kids in the Woods program and Michigan State University – Extension facilitates the Life of Lake Superior program.  For more information, contact 906-387-2512

Become a Junior Forest Ranger

Cover of the Junior Snow Ranger

  • Adventure Guide – download this 16-page guide that is packed with activities about our national forests and grasslands. When you complete the guide, follow the directions on page one and take the oath to become an official Forest Junior Ranger.
  • Junior Snow Ranger – download this 16-page activity booklet that highlights the role of a snow ranger, the use of rescue dogs, and the continued importance of wildfire prevention during winter. You can also learn how to make your own snowshoes.

Meet Smokey Bear

Smokey Bear HeadSmokey Bear has been a member of our families since 1944. He has reminded us for many decades how important it is to prevent unplanned, human-caused wildland fires. It only takes one match and it’s up to you to help protect the forest and Smokey’s forest friends.  This link takes you to the national webpage for information and activities for kids.

Meet Woodsy Owl

Woodsy OwlWoodsy Owl is our caring, friendly, and wise friend that wants you to explore nature everywhere, whether that is in the city, in your local forest, or in your backyard. His motto “Lend a Hand – Care for the Land!” encourages all of us to make a positive difference in our world.  To learn more about Woodsy Owl and find activities to do from home, click here.

Other Cool Websites for Kids

The U.S. Forest Service and our partners have many great resources just for kids! Take a look…

  • Check out our national kids page that has over 30 coloring pages and other fun stuff too.
  • Discover the Forest is great website to explore and learn about your National Forests.
  • Observe wildlife from the CritterCams and watch videos at NatureWatch and learn fun facts about them.
  • Natural Inquirer has a number of activity booklets like “NSI: Nature Science Investigator” to download for free along with other activities to do from home such as guessing games, eye challenges, and word games.
  • Celebrate wildflowers by learning about pollinators, invasive plant species, and more through hands-on activities, coloring pages, and word games.
  • Watch adventure videos from FSNativeLIVE – Bringing Nature to You! that include topics such as freshwater, caves, grasslands, bats, and pollinators.
  • National Agriculture in the Classroom has a student center to take virtual field trips, investigate agricultural jobs, or play online games.