|Sylvania Wilderness and Recreation Area
The Sylvania Wilderness and Sylvania Recreation Area, is located near Watersmeet, Michigan and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System and the Ottawa National Forest Combined with the adjacent Recreation Area, the 18,327 acre wilderness offers an outstanding camping, fishing, hiking, canoeing and skiing experiences. It is also the perfect place for those which to enjoy a solitary wilderness experience. The Sylvania Wilderness and Recreation area features 34 named lakes, some of which offer sand beaches while others are surrounded by red and white pines. This large natural area with its old growth forest and pristine lakes provides habitat for a wide range of living things. While exploring Sylvania visitors may see threatened or endangered plants and animals such as rare orchids, bald eagles, loons and osprey. Camping is permitted at designated sites by permit only. Permits can be obtained on a walk-in basis at the Wilderness Entrance Station or can be reserved through Reserve America on line at www.Recreation.gov.
Black River Harbor
Known for its spectacular waterfalls, idyllic beaches, scenic hiking trails and tranquil campground, The Black River Harbor Recreation Area, one of the many areas of the Ottawa National Forest, is a popular destination throughout the year and is known for gorgeous waterfalls, sandy beached, spectacular hiking trails and a serene campground. The Black River, which originates in Wisconsin, flows through forested areas of large pine, hemlock and hardwood trees. The River, displays a unique color, which is derived from tannin that come from the many hemlock trees and it showcases a series of scenic waterfalls as it drops in elevation to meet Lake Superior.
The Harbor, with ample parking for trucks and boat trailers, offers one of the area’s few access points to Lake Superior, with boating a major summer time activity. The boat ramp can accommodate almost any craft trailered in. There is no launching fee. Boat fuel and snacks are available through the concessionaire.
Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness
The Wild and Scenic Sturgeon River rushes out of the northern portion of this wilderness, over the 20 foot volcanic outcroppings of Sturgeon Falls, and through a gorge that reaches 350 Feet in depth and a mile in width. Throughout this rugged, steep Wilderness, the Sturgeon and Little Silver Rivers and their tributaries have carved falls, rapids, ponds, oxbows, and terraces. Stunning views are possible from eastern rim of the gorge. Except for a few naturally bare slopes, most of the land is forested with pine, hemlock, aspen, sugar maple, birch, and basswood. When the leaves of the hardwoods of the Ottawa National Forest change color in the fall, they form a vivid tapestry. There are few established trails in Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness, and the few overgrown logging roads are hard to find and follow. The North Country National Scenic Trail parallels the northern and eastern boundaries for about eight miles. Sturgeon River Campground offers nine sites on the southeastern boundary. In Spring and during peak runoff, kayaking and white water canoeing are challenging, and only recommended for advanced paddlers.
Black River Harbor Recreation Area
Black River Harbor Recreation Area is composed of the Campground, the Harbor and adjacent picnic grounds and waterfall observation facilities. The campground is a modern facility with flush toilets; sewer dumping station, pressurized water system, and 40 paved camping spurs. The campsites can accommodate tents, trailers, and motor homes. Seven campsites provide overlooks to Lake Superior. Each campsite is bordered by vegetation providing privacy for a quite enjoyable experience.
The Harbor offers one of the area’s few access points to Lake Superior, with boating a major summer time activity. There is no launching fee; however, there is a fee for transient docking. Boat fuel is available and there is ample parking for trucks and trailers.
Tall hemlock and pine surround the Black River Harbor day use area. Picnic tables and grills are available for visitors, as well as an enclosed pavilion with fireplace, which can be reserved for special events. Access to the beach and North Country National Scenic Trail are by crossing the area’s unique suspension bridge.
There are five distinct and picturesque waterfalls within the Recreation Area that you won’t want to miss. All are accessible by traveling County Road 513 or by hiking the North Country National Scenic Trail northward from the Harbor parking lot or southward from Conglomerate Falls parking lot.
Three generations of McCormicks, the descendants of Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the reaping machine, held the deed to this area before Gordon McCormick willed the land to the U.S. Forest Service. McCormick Wilderness has recovered from the logging era that ended in the early 1900′s. Today, you’ll find a mixture of northern hardwoods and lowland conifers interspersed with small patches of towering white pine, Michigan’s State Tree. Straddling the divide between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, this region ranges from nearly level terrain to rocky cliffs. McCormick’s water is what draws most visitors, with the Huron, Dead, Pahokee, and the Wild and Scenic Yellow Dog Rivers all have part of their headwaters within the wilderness. Many cascading waterfalls on the Yellow Dog make it unnavigable. The Yellow Dog is one of a few Eastern rivers designated “Wild”. Eighteen small lakes add sparkle to the landscape. Trout, pike, and bass live here, but only in small numbers due to the less-than-fertile-waters. The three mile White Lake Trail connects County Road 607 to White Deer Lake where the McCormick Estate once stood. Remnants of old, unmaintained trails can sometimes be found, but the rest of the Wilderness is fairly rugged, isolated, unspoiled, and relatively difficult to access
Lake Ottawa Recreation Area
Lake Ottawa Recreation area is in a beautiful forested north woods setting located 5 miles southwest of Iron River, MI., on the Iron River Ranger District. Located in the general area are Lake Ottawa, Brule Lake, Hagerman Lake, Brule River, Bass Lake, the Historic Mile Post Zero/Treaty Tree, The Ge-Che Trail, and miles of hiking trails. Lake Ottawa Campground is 95% surrounded by National Forest System Land and offers a picnic shelter with two stone fire places and original log picnic tables, and two log toilet buildings, which were constructed by the CCC in the late 1930′s. A pressurized water system and sewage dump station is located in the campground. Adjacent to the campground is a CCC ere day use recreation building, with flush toilets, swimming beach, accessible fishing pier, playground area and playing field, picnic areas and boat launch.
The Ottawa National Forest, in all its splendor, is the perfect vacation spot for you, your family, and all those seeking a top rated wilderness experience!