The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is 10.5 million acres. About 84% of that, or 8.8 million acres, is forested land. These lands are home to a variety of terrain, wildlife, water features, and timber types. Vast acreage with limited development containing streams, rivers, and inland lakes provide a true wilderness experience for those who seek it. Much of the activity in these areas is activity surrounding timber harvests.
There are two National Forest areas in the Upper Peninsula, the Hiawatha National Forest, and the Ottawa National Forest. The Hiawatha National Forest comprises of about 1 million acres located in two separate locations. There is an Eastern forest which is located North of St. Ignace and stretches to the West of Sault Ste. Marie. This forestland has borders on Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior. The Western forest lies between the towns of Rapid River and Manistique along the North shore of Lake Michigan and extends to the North all the way to the shores of Lake Superior around the town of Munising. The Hiawatha National Forest contains some of the best and most beautiful inland lakes in the Central Upper Peninsula. For more information on these forest lands please visit The Hiawatha National Forest website.
The Ottawa National Forest is made up of three wilderness forestland acreage totaling 50,000 acres. These forests contain over 500 named lakes and 2000 miles of river frontage. The Ottawa National Forests are located in the Western Upper Peninsula extending from the town of Iron River at the Southern end all the way to the Lake Superior shoreline in Ontonagon County. Much of this land is wilderness area with little population and many vast acreages that have little or no road accesses. In comparison to the Hiawatha Forest, the Ottawa National Forest has much greater elevation changes and more rugged and remote lands. For more information on these forest land please visit The Ottawa National Forest website.
The U.P. also has several State Forest areas and a majority portion of the State owned 4.5 million acres. These lands are scattered throughout the U.P.’s land mass, but much of it lies in large contiguous blocks. These lands are open to the public and managed in a similar fashion to the National Forest Lands. The State of Michigan has local offices with Forestry staff who actively manage the timber stands on these properties. For more information and maps of these acreage please visit the Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources website.