Seney National Wildlife Refuge
Seney National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 for the protection and production of migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge is composed of a rich mosaic of marsh, swamp, bog, grasslands and forest, with nearly two-thirds wetlands. Today, it protects habitat for threatened and endangered species, as well as a variety of wildlife. A diversity of wildlife species utilize the refuge with over 200 bird species, 26 fish species and 50 mammals recorded. This diversity of wildlife is maintained through wetland, fire and forest management.
VISITOR CENTER. The Visitor Center at the Refuge is open seven days a week from May 15 to October 15. Hours are 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. Exhibits on wildlife history, habitat, ecology and management are on display and an orientation slide show is shown every half hour from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This show introduces viewers to the variety of wildlife found on the Refuge, as well as management techniques. The photography is stunning! The center is complete with a natural history book store and children's touch table.
TOURING BY CAR. The Marshland Wildlife Drive is a seven mile self-guided auto tour open May 15 through October 15, during daylight hours. The drive starts across from the visitor center parking lot. Along the trail there are three observation decks set up with spotting scopes to assist the visitor in seeing eagles, osprey, loons and trumpeter swans. Timing for wildlife viewing is of utmost importance. Spring, late summer and fall are best, while early morning and evening hours are when most species are active. Because more people show up for the evening hours, you might want to try getting up with the sun some day for a great experience. Sometimes in the evening the Refuge staff will lead a guided tour. Call ahead to check with them at 906-586-9851. Remember, all wildlife has the right-of-way, and this is especially true of geese using the dikes. Breaking up a brood of geese is often fatal for those goslings separated from adults.
TRAILS TO EXPLORE. The Pine Ridge Nature Trail offers an intimate look at refuge habitat, plants and wildlife. The 1.4 mile looped trail begins just outside the Visitor Center and is open year round during daylight hours.
70 MILES TO WALK OR BIKE. A network of nearly seventy miles of roads, closed to motor vehicle traffic, is available to the more adventuresome traveler. Maps and access information are available at the Visitor Center or refuge headquarters.
BERRYPICKING AND MUSHROOMS. Much of the refuge is open to the picking of morel mushrooms, blueberries and other wild foods and fruits. Information available at the Visitor Center
CANOEING. Canoeing is permitted only on the Manistique, Driggs and Creighton Rivers and Walsh Creek. Use is limited to daylight hours with no overnight camping allowed. Please, no canoes on the refuge pools or marshes.
FISHING AND HUNTING. Portions of the refuge are open to hunting and fishing under special regulations. Please contact the refuge headquarters for a current list of hunting and fishing regulations, including a detailed map of the areas available.
WINTER ACTIVITIES. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on the refuge during the winter months, with groomed trails available from mid-December through mid-March. Maps are available at the refuge headquarters or the trail heads. All refuge pools are open to ice fishing from January 1 through February 28
For additional information contact
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Seney NWR, at 95,455 acres, protects marsh swamp, bog, and forest habitat for more than 200 bird species. In the 1930’s the CCC constructed 100 miles of dikes that today impound 7000 acres of water on the refuge. Scientists regulate water flow at these dikes to provide habitat for bald eagles, sandhill cranes, black terns, ospreys and common loons. Wet meadow sedges attract Le Conte’s sparrows, sedge wrens and elusive rails that sing when dusk gives way to night.
Of the 409 species of birds accepted by the MI Bird Records Committee, more than 300 have been documented migrating through, resting or breeding near WPBO.
Whitefish Point is the perfect place to observe migrating birds. Thousands of sharp-shinned, Cooper’s, rough-legged, and broad-winged hawks, peregrine falcons, kestrels and merlins, golden and bald eagles and other raptor species pass here annually during spring migration to their northern breeding grounds, and in the fall to their wintering grounds. The Whitefish Peninsula, a tapered promontory, juts into Lake Superior, welcoming the concentrations of hawks, owls, songbirds and myriad waterfowl.
An average of 139 ospreys, 45 bald eagle, 75 turkey vultures, 307 northern harriers, 65 Cooper’s hawks, 124 northern goshawks, 31 red-shouldered hawks, 3844 broad-winged hawks, 1370 red-tailed hawks, 859 rough-legged hawks, 19 golden eagles, 426 American kestrels, 43 merlins and 18 peregrine falcons have been counted from March15 to May 31 between 1983 and 1989.
At the WPBO website, you can see daily sighting totals when hawk and owls are being counted and truly awesome avian photography. Whitefish Point Unit is a Satellite Refuge of the Seney NWR. Click here for website
Whitefish Point is a narrow peninsula that reaches several miles into Lake Superior toward Canada. The geography of this location makes it a natural "funnel" for birds of all kinds as they migrate between their northern breeding grounds in Canada and warmer wintering grounds to the South. The distance between the Canadian coast and Whitefish Point is about seventeen miles. The habitat at the tip of the peninsula is primarily forested dune with jack pine being the dominant tree species. Small shrubby wetlands are found in low-lying areas.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
"The centerpiece of Tahquamenon Falls State Park's 50,000 acres is the Tahquamenon River with its waterfalls. The Upper Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi has a drop of nearly 50 feet, is more than 200 feet across and has a water flow of more than 50,000 gallons per second. Four miles downstream is the Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island. Although not as dramatic as the Upper Falls, they are equally magnificent. The falls can be viewed from the river bank or from the island, which can be reached by rowboat rented from a park concession. The island walk affords a view of the falls in the south channel.
This is the land of Longfellow's Hiawatha - "by the rushing Tahquamenaw" Hiawatha built his canoe. Long before the white man set eyes on the river, the abundance of fish in its waters and animals along its shores attracted the Ojibwa Indians, who camped, farmed, fished and trapped along its banks. In the late 1800's came the lumber barons and the river carried their logs by the millions to the mills. Lumberjacks, who harvested the tall timber, were among the first permanent white settlers in the area."
The park also provides exciting birding during the breeding season. A variety of natural communities including old-growth hardwood forests, red pine/white pine ridges, jack pine plains, grass and shrub peatlands, and black spruce bogs offer nesting habitat for approximately 125 species. Among these are several boreal species including spruce grouse, gray jay, black-backed woodpecker and boreal chickadee.
Be sure and check out this web page about birding in the park.
Hamilton Lake Nature Area
Hamilton Lake Nature Area is a Luce County property with special management. A nature trail takes visitors through several habitats, including a hemlock stand. The 20 acre lake has pure spring water. Wood and Hermit Thrush are heard here. Woodland woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches are here. Several warblers nest here, including Ovenbird, Yellow-Rumped, American Redstart, Black-Throated Green, Black-Throated Blue, Northern Parula, and Nashville. Wood ducks and Mallards are here for nesting. Osprey nest here. Many waterfowl go through in migration during May, with sandhill cranes a common visitor.
"About osprey" info here. ERICKSON CENTER FOR THE ARTS info here
Rising from springs north of McMillan, the Tahquamenon River drains the watershed of an area of more than 790 square miles. From its source, it meanders 94 miles before emptying into Whitefish Bay. The amber color of the water is caused by tannins leached from the Cedar, Spruce and Hemlock in the swamps drained by the river. The extremely soft water churned by the action of the falls causes the large amounts of foam, which has been the trademark of the Tahquamenon since the days of the voyager.