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Wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities abound in this 50,000-acre state game area. Allegan is a showcase for oak-pine barrens (also called oak-pine savanna)—a unique community of plants and animals adapted to life on the dry, sandy soils of this area. Allegan also features lowland hardwood and oak-pine forests, wetlands, ponds and open fields.
Perhaps the most dramatic wildlife viewing opportunity at Allegan is the mass concentration of Canada geese that assembles here in the fall. More than 100,000 geese will pass through the area and as many as 40,000 may be seen at one time. Best viewing is in the Fennville Farm Unit on the southwestern boundary of the property. The Fennville Unit includes a refuge where no visitor access is allowed, but viewing from the road is excellent. This Unit is also a good place to see deer at dawn and dusk.
The unique oak-pine barren/savanna communities and some restored prairie fields may be viewed from along M-89 or from any of the county roads that crisscross Allegan SGA. Some of these openings are commonly used as hunting areas by raptors (birds-of-prey). Bald eagles and golden eagles may be seen on the on the area during migration. Look for the dark phase of the rough-legged hawk from December throughout February. Go to the area headquarters for maps or for more information on the current wildlife viewing hotspots.
This area is open to public hunting. Contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for hunting seasons and regulations.
Traveling north on M-89 in the city of Allegan, turn left (west) onto Monroe Road (118th Avenue) and proceed 7 miles to the area headquarters.
Ownership: Michigan Department of Natural Resources (269) 673-2430.
Size: 50,000 acres
Closest Towns: Allegan, Fennville, Hamilton
Allegan State Game Area is a 50,000-acre (200 km2) forest attracting campers, snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, horse trail riders and hunters. It is located in west-central Allegan County, Michigan. One gateway is just west of the city of Allegan. It is more commonly referred to as Allegan Forest.
It has two primitive campgrounds, owned by the state of Michigan but operated by Allegan County. Ely Lake Campground is on Ely Lake, a small inland lake. Pine Point Campground is on Swan(Mill)Creek Pond, above a small dam. Both have swimming beaches. There are camping fees.
The forest is a mixture, but largely hardwood. The Kalamazoo River flows through the northern portion. It is popular with canoeists. Behind the Calkins Bridge Dam the Kalamazoo becomes the large, but shallow and polluted, Lake Allegan.
During hunting season, many come to hunt whitetail deer, Canada geese and wild turkeys.
Trails are laid out for hikers and horse riders in the summer and snowmobilers and cross-country skiers in the winter.
The forest is broken up by private ownership with sections of woods and sections of homes. The state occasionally buys private land to add to the forest and fill in the gaps.
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