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There are three primary viewing sites on this large, state-owned wildlife area. A flat, grassland area is adjacent to the Munuscong River. This area was once farmed and has many shallow, man-made ponds scattered throughout the open grassland. The main viewing site is the coastal marsh area on Munuscong Lake. The lake is actually part of the St. Mary’s River, which connects Lake Superior and Lake Huron. Both of these sites are undeveloped, but some amenities are available at a nearby state forest campground along the Munuscong River north of the coastal marsh viewing area. The third viewing area is along the dike at the east end of the campground. You can walk on the dike but motorized vehicles are not allowed.
A walk through the open grassland habitat and viewing site provides a good opportunity to see meadowlarks, bobolinks, field sparrows, sharptail grouse and many species of waterfowl and shorebirds. Northern harriers and other hawks are often seen hunting this open field habitat and may be seen perched in nearby trees. Rough-legged hawks and snowy owls, raptors that breed in the far north, use this habitat for their wintering grounds and hunt the small rodents common in the grassland habitat. Great gray owls and hawk owls, though rare winter visitors, have also been sighted in this and other areas of the eastern Upper Peninsula. There are no designated trails through this grassland/wetland complex, but visitors are free to hike or ski wherever they choose. This site is soggy during rainy periods, so come prepared with trusty boots. The coastal marsh-viewing site attracts numerous waterfowl and shorebirds and wading birds. Tundra swans and other migratory waterfowl, including diving ducks such as canvasbacks and redheads, concentrate in this area spring and fall. Bald eagles, ospreys, muskrats, and many wetland-related songbirds are also attractions. The parking area is a good place to view this wildlife, and a pair of binoculars, or better yet a spotting scope, will improve your wildlife viewing experience. Another viewing site is found east of the state forest campground. Dikes once used to create a separate wetland management pool are found at the end of the road east of the campground. Park at the gate and walk east along the dike, which provides unique foot access into the emergent wetland habitat on the edge of the lake, out beyond the natural shoreline.
This area is open to public hunting. See the Michigan Department of Natural Resources hunting guide for season dates.
From Sault St. Marie, drive south on M-129 to 22-Mile Road (Riverside). Turn left (east) and continue 2.5 miles to the grassland viewing area on the left or continue another 1/2 mile and turn left (north) onto Riverside Drive. Proceed 1 mile and turn right (east) onto 21-Mile Road and drive 1.5 miles to the coastal marsh viewing area.
Ownership: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Sault Ste. Marie, (906) 635-6161
Size: 15,000 acres
Closest Town: Pickford
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