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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Map showing National Forests in Michigan.
Canoes on the Pere Marquette River in Manistee National Forest.
Benton Lake in Manistee National Forest near the town of Baldwin

The Huron-Manistee National Forests are two national forests combined in 1945 for administration purposes and which comprise 978,725 acres (3,960 km2) [1] of public lands, including 5,786 acres (23 km2) of wetlands, extending across the northern lower peninsula of Michigan. The Huron-Manistee National Forests provide recreation opportunities for visitors, habitat for fish and wildlife, and resources for local industry. The headquarters for the forests is in Cadillac, Michigan.



The Huron National Forest was established in 1909 and the Manistee National Forest in 1938. In 1945, they were administratively combined, although they are not adjacent. Huron has about 44.8% of the combined area, whereas the larger Manistee has about 55.2%.


The Huron-Manistee boasts thousands of lakes and miles of sparkling rivers streams. The nationally-known Pere Marquette and Au Sable Rivers offer quality canoeing and fishing.

Over 330 miles (531 km) of trails are available for hiking on the Huron-Manistee National Forests.

The Manistee National Forest portion is located in northwest lower Michigan. It has varying but largely sandy terrain covered with trees. There are numerous lakes and frontage on Lake Michigan. The area is popular for fishing, camping, boating, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and hunting. The North Country Trail passes through it. It has a total area of 540,187 acres (844.04 sq mi, or 2,186.06 km²). In descending order of land area it lies in parts of Lake, Newaygo, Wexford, Manistee, Mason, Oceana, Muskegon, Mecosta, and Montcalm counties. There are local ranger district offices located in Baldwin and Manistee.

The Manistee Forest is not one continuous mass but is broken by private property and towns. Much of the land had been abandoned by logging companies after being logged off a century ago.

The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness is a unique feature in the Manistee portion. This relatively small area of 3,450 acres (14 km2), situated on the east shore of Lake Michigan is one of the few wilderness areas in the U.S. with an extensive lake shore dunes ecosystem. Most of the dunes are 3500 to 4000 years old and some stand about 140 feet (43 m) higher than the lake. The Nordhouse Dunes are interspersed with woody vegetation such as juniper, jack pine and hemlock. There are many small water holes and marshes dotting the landscape and dune grass covers many of the dunes. The beach is wide and sandy, excellent for solitary walks and sunset viewing.

The Huron National Forest portion is in northeast lower Michigan. Its southern boundary is approximately at the latitude of Manistee's northern boundary. It has a total area of 438,538 acres (685.22 sq mi, or 1,774.70 km²). It lies in parts of Oscoda, Alcona, Iosco, Crawford, and Ogemaw counties. There are local ranger district offices in Mio and Oscoda.

The threatened Kirtland's Warbler nests in the area, and tours are available, subject to time restrictions.[2]


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