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Michigan State Parks

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USA Parks
Northeast Region
Au Sable State Forest
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13 sites for tent or small trailer use, 5 of which are designated for canoe-access only. Located on the main branch of the Au Sable River. Universally accessible picnic tables. Rustic campground includes vault toilets and potable water from well hand pump. Sites available on a first-come, first-serve basis. No reservations. Check with State Forest Campground Manager for seasonal availability.
History of the Area
The Au Sable State Forest, located in the northern part of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, has a rich history intertwined with the state's logging industry and conservation efforts. Here is a brief overview of its history:

1. Logging Era: In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the forests of Michigan were heavily logged to meet the demand for timber. The Au Sable River and surrounding area had an abundance of white pine, which attracted logging companies. The timber was primarily used for building materials, railroad ties, and paper production.

2. Conservation Movement: As logging operations depleted the forests, concerns arose about the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. In 1909, Michigan established its first state forest reserve system, aiming to protect and manage forest resources. The original reserve boundaries included what is now the Au Sable State Forest.

3. State Forest Establishment: Michigan continued to acquire land for conservation purposes, and in 1927, the Michigan Legislature designated the Au Sable State Forest as a separate unit, distinct from the larger Huron-Manistee National Forest. The creation of the state forest aimed to focus on state-controlled forest management practices.

4. Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC): During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the federal government initiated the CCC program to provide jobs and address conservation needs. Several CCC camps were established within the Au Sable State Forest, where young men worked on reforestation, soil erosion control, road construction, and other conservation projects.

5. Forest Management: Over the years, the Au Sable State Forest has been actively managed for sustainable timber production, wildlife habitat preservation, and recreational opportunities. Forest management practices include selective logging, tree planting, controlled burns, and maintaining a diverse ecosystem.

6. Recreation and Conservation: The Au Sable State Forest offers extensive recreational activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, birdwatching, and wildlife observation. It includes numerous lakes, rivers, and trails, most notably the Au Sable River, which is popular for canoeing and fishing.

The Au Sable State Forest serves as an important example of forest management and conservation practices. It continues to be a valuable natural resource for both residents and visitors of Michigan, contributing to the state's outdoor traditions and the preservation of its natural heritage.
The Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry into state parks and recreation areas, state boat launches, state forest campgrounds and state trail parking lots. Details and information on how to obtain your Michigan Recreation Passport can be found by visiting the MICHIGAN RECREATION PASSPORT web page.
1. Alcona Park: A 1100 acre park with over a mile of shoreline on the Au Sable River.

2. Rollways Campground and Picnic Area: Located near Hubbard Lake, this campground offers sites for tent camping as well as RVs.

3. Loud Dam Pond Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Area (SPNMA) Camping Sites: This area has several campsites that are accessible only by foot or boat, providing an off-the-grid experience in nature.

4. Monument Campground & Canoe Landing: It is located along the beautiful South Branch of the AuSable River.

5. Mio Pines Acres Cabins/Campgrounds/RV Parks: Offers cabins rentals and campsite options.

6. Horseshoe Lake State Forest Campground: Situated next to Horseshoe lake offering fishing opportunities too.

7. Reid Lake Foot Travel Area Dispersed Camping: Ideal for those who prefer more secluded camping experiences away from designated campgrounds.

8. Bear Den Cabin: For those preferring cabin stays within forest premises.

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1. Corsair Trail System: This popular trail system within the Au Sable State Forest offers 28 miles of interconnected loops, providing a variety of routes for hikers to enjoy. The trails wind through hardwood forests and across scenic bridges with beautiful views.

2. Highbanks River Trail: Stretching over seven miles along the eastern bank of the Au Sable River, this trail provides stunning river vistas and opportunities to spot wildlife such as bald eagles or white-tailed deer.

3. Reid Lake Foot Travel Area Trails: These six interconnecting loop trails cover about nine miles in total length around Reid Lake area offering diverse terrain from wetlands to upland forest areas filled with pine trees and wildflowers during springtime.

4. Eagle Run Pathway & Canoe Landing: A three-mile long hiking path that winds alongside an old growth forest by the banks of Ausable River; it also features several canoe landing spots making it ideal for combining water sports activities too.

5. Canyon Falls Roadside Park - L'Anse Township Nature Preserve Loop: It's a moderate level hike covering approximately two mile round trip featuring waterfall view points on Baraga County's Sturgeon River Gorge.

6. East Branch Mason Tract Pathway: This is another riverside pathway stretching nearly ten-miles one way following East branch section which can be accessed via Chase Bridge Rd off M-72 highway.

7. Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center Paths: Located near Oscoda township these short paths offer educational insights into Michigan logging history while enjoying panoramic views atop high sand dunes overlooking Ausabe river valley.

8. Silver Valley Loop: An easy five-mile loop located at southern end bordering Huron National Forest suitable for family hikes exploring mixed deciduous-coniferous woodlands.

9. Wakely lake foot travel area: Covering more than twenty square kilometers this wilderness region has multiple unmarked primitive pathways leading towards Wakely lake and surrounding wetland areas ideal for birdwatching.

10. Pine Baron Pathway: A 5.8-mile loop trail located near Gaylord, Michigan that features a river and is good for all skill levels.

11. South Branch Trail: This pathway follows South branch section of Ausable River covering approximately twenty miles one way starting from Roscommon till it merges with main stem at Parmalee Bridge area.

12. North Country National Scenic Trail: Part of this long-distance hiking path passes through Au Sable State Forest offering hikers the chance to experience remote wilderness sections filled with diverse flora & fauna species.

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5.5 miles East of Grayling via North Down River Road and Headquarters Road.

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Michigan State Parks