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Michigan State Parks

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USA Parks
Upper Peninsula Region
Manistique River State Forest
Manistique River State Forest Manistique Light © Jim Oakley
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The Manistique River State Forest in Michigan is a picturesque wilderness area that encompasses the breathtaking Manistique River. With its dense forests, tranquil streams, and diverse wildlife, this state forest offers an idyllic escape for nature enthusiasts. Hikers can explore the numerous trails that lead deep into the forest, encountering peaceful lakes, cascading waterfalls, and vibrant wildflowers along the way. Fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines into the crystal-clear river, teeming with trout and other freshwater fish. The Manistique River State Forest is a haven for outdoor recreation, providing a serene and unspoiled environment for visitors to connect with nature and experience the beauty of Michigan's wilderness.
History of the Area
The Manistique River State Forest is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is named after the nearby Manistique River. The history of the state forest is intertwined with the logging industry that dominated this region during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In the late 1800s, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan became a hub for the timber industry, and the Manistique River Valley was known for its abundant forests of white pine. Numerous logging companies set up operations along the river to harvest these valuable trees.

As logging became more intensive, concerns about unsustainable practices and the potential depletion of resources grew. In response, the Michigan Department of Conservation began acquiring land in the Manistique River region in 1924 with the goal of preserving it for multiple uses, including timber management, recreation, and wildlife conservation.

The state forest has expanded through various acquisitions, including both state and privately-owned lands. The forest now covers an area of approximately 65,000 acres. It is managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to balance timber harvesting, wildlife habitat preservation, and recreational opportunities.

Recreational activities in the Manistique River State Forest include camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, bird watching, and wildlife viewing. The forest also has several designated trails, including sections of the North Country National Scenic Trail, which stretches for thousands of miles across several states.

The Manistique River State Forest remains an essential resource for both the local community and outdoor enthusiasts visiting the Upper Peninsula. With its diverse ecosystems, abundant wildlife, and rich history, it continues to provide opportunities for people to connect with nature and enjoy the beauty of Michigan's forests.
The Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry into state parks and recreation areas, state boat launches, state forest campgrounds and state trail parking lots. Details and information on how to obtain your Michigan Recreation Passport can be found by visiting the MICHIGAN RECREATION PASSPORT web page.
1. Indian Lake State Park: This park offers 145 campsites, all with electrical service and modern restrooms. The campgrounds are located on the shores of Indian Lake.

2. Manistique Lakeshore Campground: Located near downtown Manistique along the beautiful shoreline of Michigan's largest lake system - Inland Waterway which includes lakes like Big & Little Manistique, North & South Milakokia etc., this campground provides full hook-up RV sites as well as tent camping areas.

3. Gerometta's Resort and Canoe Livery: They offer rustic cabins for rent in addition to canoe rentals for river trips down the scenic Fox River or into Seney National Wildlife Refuge.

4. Hiawatha National Forest Campgrounds (Bear Creek): There are several dispersed primitive camping options within these national forest lands that border parts of the state forest area too.

5. Colwell Lake Recreation Area: It is a popular fishing spot where you can also find picnic facilities and hiking trails besides its small but serene campground offering both electrically serviced spots plus some non-electric ones too.

6. Lake Gogebic State Park: Though it lies somewhat further west from main part of manistee river state forest yet if one doesn't mind driving extra miles then they may consider staying at any among their 127-sites equipped with electricity supply, fire rings , table benches etc.

7. Seney Wilderness Outfitters Cabins/Campsites: These private rental properties provide another option close by to enjoy wilderness experience while being just few minutes away from local attractions such as Seney wildlife refuge center.

8. Fox River Motel/Resort: Besides motel rooms here you'll get chance renting out log cabin style units fully furnished including kitchenettes making them perfect choice especially when planning longer stays exploring surrounding natural beauty during day time returning back comfortable cozy space night after long adventurous days spent outdoors enjoying recreational activities like fishing, hiking etc.

9. Seeny National Wildlife Refuge: There are several campsites available for those who wish to camp in the wilderness of this refuge, which is home to a variety of wildlife species.

10. Lake Michigan Recreation Area: This area offers camping options with beautiful views over Lake Michigan and access to miles of sandy beach.
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Manistique River State Forest is

1. Indian Lake Pathway: This is a 3-mile loop trail located near Manistique, Michigan that features beautiful wildflowers and wildlife sightings. The terrain varies from flat to slightly hilly making it suitable for all skill levels.

2. Fox River Foot Trail: A moderately difficult hiking path stretching about 27 miles along the scenic Fox River in Schoolcraft County within the state forest area offering stunning views of waterfalls and rapids.

3. Haywire Grade Multi-Use Trail: Originally an old railroad grade, this multi-use pathway stretches over 33 miles through dense forests with opportunities for bird watching and fishing at various points along its route.

4. Bruno's Run Hiking & Biking Trails: An approximately nine mile long single-track trail system winding around several lakes providing excellent views of wetlands teeming with local flora and fauna including beavers, otters etc., also offers camping spots nearby.

5. Pine Marten Run Trail System: Located on State Highway M94 just west of Forest Road2236,this nearly twenty-six mile-long mixed use (hike/bike) trails offer panoramic vistas across rolling hills covered by hardwoods interspersed with pine stands.

6. Seney National Wildlife Refuge Trails: Although not directly part of Manistique river state forest but situated closeby,this refuge has multiple short length interpretive nature trails like Fishing Loop,F Marsh,C Marsh which are perfect places to observe migratory birds,wildlife or simply enjoy serene landscapes.

7. North Country Scenic Trail - Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Section: Partly passing through eastern edge boundary region between lake superior shoreline towards south into manistque river basin.This national trail provides unique experience covering diverse ecosystems ranging from sand dunes,lakes,rivers,bogs,spruce-fir-hemlock-pine-hardwood forests.

8. Big Island Canoe Area Wilderness Watertrails: Accessible via canoe/kayak only, this unique trail system offers a chance to explore the Manistique River and its surrounding wilderness from water level.

9. The Pine Ridge Nature Trail: A 1-mile self-guided interpretive nature walk that provides an opportunity for visitors to learn about local plant life.

10. Gerometta's Resort Snowmobile & ATV Trails: These trails are open year-round offering miles of scenic routes through dense forests with opportunities for snowmobiling in winter months or off-roading during summer season.

11. Lake Michigan Recreation Area Hiking Trails: Located on lake michigan shoreline just west of manistque river state forest,this area has several short length loop trails like Dune Interpretative Trail (0.75 mile),Lake View Loop(2miles) providing breathtaking views over sand dunes,lake beaches,picnic spots etc.,a

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Area Campgrounds
Indian Lake Travel Resort
HC 01 Box 3286
Manistique, MI
Woodstar Beach Campground
17865 Little Harbor Road
Manistique, MI

1. Start by heading north on US:2 W from St. Ignace or south on US-2 E if coming from Escanaba.
2. Continue driving until you reach Thompson, where you'll need to turn east onto M:149.
3. Follow M:149 for approximately 15 miles as it winds through scenic forests and countryside.
4. Look out for signs indicating the entrance to the state forest area; there are multiple access points along this road depending on which part of the forest you wish to visit.

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Michigan State Parks