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The Sand Point Marsh Trail is a 1/2-mile barrier-free boardwalk that provides visitors access through a scenic wetland area at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This trail is merely the tip of the iceberg. There is a tremendous variety of visually spectacular natural resources to be enjoyed at this large, beautiful National Park Service area. The park encompasses 42 miles of jagged sandstone cliffs, sandy beaches and sand dunes, plus inland lakes, waterfalls, and the Lake Superior forest from Munising to Grand Marais. Because of its location within the transition zone between the boreal and eastern deciduous forest biomes, the lakeshore contains plants and animals found in both forest types. Hardwood forests are prevalent, but conifers dominate some sites. Wetlands are common throughout the lakeshore. Many wildlife species live permanently or seasonally within the lakeshore. The cold maritime climate along the shore of Lake Superior greatly influences physical conditions and hence the biotic communities.
The unique and ancient ridge and swale topography of Sand Point creates a variety of wet and dry habitats at the Marsh Trail. Conifers dominate the drier ridges, while low swales support wetland vegetation. Beavers are active in the wetland of the Sand Point Marsh Trail. These aquatic mammals are mostly active at night, but you may see them at dawn and dusk, and evidence of their presence is all around. Waterfowl, herons, wetland-related and edge habitat songbirds all may be seen in and around this marsh area. Numerous spring migrants pass through and nest here, including the common yellowthroat, black-and-white warbler, American redstart, yellow-rumped warbler, plus many more. The trail is even useable in the winter by snowshoe, when you might see tracks of the pine marten, coyote, snowshoe hare, red fox, and other winter-active mammals. Sixteen interpretive exhibits relate the natural and cultural history along the trail. A large-print trail guide is available for the visually impaired. Be sure to stop at the visitor center in Munising to pick up trail maps, interpretive brochures, and additional information about the excellent wildlife watching opportunities available throughout this 73,000+ acre park.
Please stay on the boardwalk trail. Do not disturb native plants or wildlife. Pets and bicycles are not permitted on the trail.
The visitor center is located at the intersection of M-28 and H-58 in Munising. To get to the Sand Point Marsh Trail, follow H-58 northeast from the visitor center to Washington Street. Turn north on Washington and proceed past the hospital, where the street name changes to Sand Point Road. Continue for 2 miles on Sand Point Road to the parking area adjacent to the Sand Point Beach.
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