95,455 Acres of Marsh, Field and Forest
The refuge Headquarters and Visitor Center are located on Highway M-77 approximately 3 miles north of Germfask, Michigan and 15 miles northwest of Curtis, Michigan.
One of the best wildlife excursions you can make is to the Seney National Wildlife Refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Seney is a photographers delight - bring your camera!
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. On a quiet summer's eve, one has only to stop and listen to hear the soft whisper of wings and the symphony of sounds echoing from the marshes.
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. The building is loaded with exhibits on wildlife history, habitat, ecology and management. A Seney National Wildlife Refuge 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
The NORTHERN HARDWOODS CROSS COUNTRY SKI TRAILS are a part of the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. The trails are open to the public and free of charge. There are seven classically groomed Nordic ski trails to choose from providing over nine miles of skiing and snowshoeing opportunities. The ski trails are typically groomed once per week, and those snowshoeing are asked to snowshoe alongside the groomed track to avoid damage to the track. This is a family friendly environment with trail difficulty broad enough to meet the needs of all user skill levels. Trails are open during daylight hours only and dogs are not allowed providing consideration to all users comfort and to avoid damaging the groomed track. Visitors will find themselves among mixed habitats including; hardwood forest, boreal forest, marshlands, and the frozen beauty of the Manistique River, allowing great opportunities to view wildlife.
Directions: Follow M-77 to Germfask, Michigan turning West onto Robinson Road at the south end of Germfask. Follow Robinson Road to a plowed parking lot with a kiosk providing a detailed map and brochure maps of the trail system.
Additional information can be found on the Seney National Wildlife Refuge website.
Otter Run: (1.8 miles) Otter Run parallels Gray’s Creek and the A Pool of the Refuge on a flat long path, providing a wide scale view of the expanse of the Refuge and a feeling of solitude.
Manistique River Run: (2.3 miles) Recommended for skiers interested in viewing wildlife, this trail winds along Gray’s Creek and the Goose Pen Pools connector creek until meeting up with the Manistique River. Open water areas, varying forest types, and marshlands along this trial can provide wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities.
Smith Farm: (0.6 miles) Smith Farm trail allows skiers to travel through a hardwood forest and make connections for several alternative routes before returning to the parking lot.
More and Most Difficult:
CLICK HERE for a map of the Northern Hardwoods Cross-country Ski Trails.
REFUGE MANAGER, 1674 Refuge Entrance Drive, SENEY, MICHIGAN 49883.
Lazy Cedars Log Cabin a few miles south of the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. Located on 30 acres of private land, the log cabin has one bedroom with a loft and will sleep up to 8 guests. Wood-burning fireplace. Easy access to ATV and snowmobile trails. Enjoy cross-country ski trails at the Seney Refuge. Near the Manistique River for fishing, and canoeing. Camp 23 Road, Blaney Park, MI 49836. Phone 517-499-6605
Twin Pines Lodging, Seney, MI 49883. Vacation cottage that offers two rental units. It can be rented as a two bedroom cottage or a one bedroom. There are connecting doors so it can be combined for a 3-bedroom, 2 bath rental home. Free Wi-Fi. Located 1/2 mile from the Fox River, a Michigan Blue Ribbon Trout Stream, and only 5 miles from the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. Direct access to snowmobile and ATV trails. Phone the Fox River Motel at 906-499-3332.
Rustic Campgrounds on the Manistique River.
Eagle photo: Jim Martin