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An extensive wooden boardwalk winds through a beautiful cedar swamp and crosses a small creek as it makes its way to the wild and scenic east end of Skegemog Lake. The boardwalk leads to an observation tower that provides a beautiful view of Skegemog Lake and its surrounding wetlands.
The 2,700 acre Skegemog Swamp Wildlife Area, located in Kalkaska County, has been called “One of the finest, most ecologically significant areas in the Lower Peninsula”. Another partnership with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Skegemog Swamp is home to herons, egrets, swamp songbirds, mink, otters, beavers, the secretive Massasauga rattlesnake and other wetland wildlife. Seven miles of shoreline on Skegemog Lake and Torch River provide critical habitat for many species of wildlife. A boardwalk provides visitors a chance to walk through a swamp without getting their feet wet. Two viewing platforms have been built to give visitors a better view of the area.
The boardwalk at this site provides a unique opportunity for visitors to walk into the heart of a lush, wet cedar swamp without needing boots or waders. The abandoned railroad grade that leads to the boardwalk is a favorite sunning spot for the secretive Massasauga rattlesnake?Michigan’s only rattlesnake. Walk quietly and watch carefully for these small snakes basking along the grade from late spring through summer. From the boardwalk you may view herons, egrets, swamp songbirds, and mink, otters, beavers, and other wetland wildlife. Listen for the song sparrows, swamp sparrows common yellowthroats, and yellow warblers that nest along the edge of the wetland, or the shy but melodious winter wren in the cedar swamp. Bald eagles nest in the area and the observation tower provides a good vantage point to catch them perching or fishing along Skegemog Lake.
Portions of this area are open to public hunting. Contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for affected seasons and locations.
From Kalkaska, take M-72 west about 4 miles to County Road 597 (sign says “To Rapid City”). Turn right (north) and proceed about 3 miles to the parking area on the left (west) side of the road.
Ownership: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Forest Management Division, Traverse City Management Unit, (231) 922-5280, or Kalkaska Field Office, (231) 258-2711.
Size: 2,700 acres
Closest Town: Torch River, Rapid City
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