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Michigan State Parks

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USA Parks
Upper Peninsula Region
Escanaba River State Forest
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Escanaba River State Forest, located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, is a sprawling natural sanctuary that offers a captivating blend of serene landscapes and abundant wildlife. Stretching across thousands of acres, this forest encompasses an enchanting mix of dense forests, picturesque rivers, and pristine lakes. Step into its mystical embrace and you'll find yourself surrounded by towering pines, vibrant maples, and a rich variety of other native trees. The centerpiece of the forest is the glistening Escanaba River, which meanders through the terrain, attracting fishermen, kayakers, and nature enthusiasts alike. With its vast network of trails, this wilderness haven beckons hikers, bikers, and snowmobilers to explore its scenic beauty at every turn. Whether you seek tranquility amidst vast stretches of nature or an adventure through diverse landscapes, Escanaba River State Forest stands as a captivating testament to the natural wonders of Michigan.
History of the Area
The Escanaba River State Forest is located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and covers an area of approximately 376,120 acres. It is named after the Escanaba River, which runs through the forest and serves as an important waterway for numerous recreational activities.

The history of the Escanaba River State Forest is closely tied to the region's logging industry. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, this area was heavily timbered, and logging companies took advantage of the vast forest resources. The timber harvested from these lands played a crucial role in building the early towns and cities of Michigan and supplying the growing demand for wood products.

As the logging industry expanded, it became evident that sustainable forest management practices were necessary to prevent overexploitation. In response, the State of Michigan began acquiring land in the area to establish a state forest. The original acquisition of the Escanaba River State Forest began in 1921 and continued over several decades.

The forest underwent significant management efforts in the 1930s during the Great Depression. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a New Deal program, played an essential role in developing the infrastructure within the state forest. CCC camps were established in the area, and workers constructed roads, trails, campgrounds, and other infrastructure to support recreational activities and natural resource management.

In addition to logging and the CCC's activities, the Escanaba River State Forest has a history of mining. The region was home to iron ore and copper mines in the past. Though the mining activities are no longer operational, they have left a mark on the landscape and influenced the forest's management strategies.

The Escanaba River State Forest is managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Its primary focus is on sustainable forest management, providing recreational opportunities, and conserving the natural resources of the area. Visitors to the forest can enjoy various activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and snowmobiling, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts in Michigan.
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. Pioneer Trail Park & Campground: This campground is located on the Escanaba River and offers a variety of amenities including electricity, water hookups, restrooms with showers, picnic tables and fire rings.

2. J.W Wells State Park: Located along Lake Michigan's Green Bay near Cedar River within the state forest boundaries offering modern camping facilities with electrical service at each site as well as mini cabins for rent.

3. Indian Lake Travel Resort: Although not directly in the Escanaba Forest it's nearby and provides full hookup RV sites plus tent campsites too.

4. Delta County Fairgrounds Camping Area: It has 24 available spots that come equipped with electric services to make your stay more comfortable.

5. Hiawatha National Forest: Though this isn't exactly inside the bounds of Escanaba River State Forest but its close proximity makes it an excellent option for campers looking out to explore both these natural wonders during their trip.

6. Rapid river/Manistique Recreation area: Offers rustic style camping experience amidst nature trails where you can hike or bike around exploring wildlife.

7. Escanaba Township Wildwood Campsite: A small secluded campsite perfect if you are seeking solitude surrounded by wilderness.

8. Velvet Green Creations Rustic Retreats: These retreats offer unique glamping options which include yurts, treehouses etc providing all basic amenities like beds,kitchenette,bathroom making them ideal choice who want comfort while being outdoors.
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Escanaba River State Forest is

1. Escanaba River Trail: This trail runs along the beautiful Escanaba river, offering hikers a chance to enjoy stunning views of waterfalls and rapids. The path is moderately challenging with some steep sections but it's well-marked making navigation easy.

2. Rapid River Ski Trail: A multi-use trail that offers both hiking in summer and cross-country skiing during winter months. It features rolling terrain through mixed hardwoods forest providing an excellent opportunity for wildlife viewing.

3. Pioneer Trail Park Loop: An easier route suitable for beginners or families with children, this loop takes you around the park's scenic areas including picnic spots by the lake shore as well as dense woodland regions where deer sightings are common.

4. Palmer Walking Pathway: Located near Palmer community within state forest boundaries,this pathway provides serene walking experience amidst lush greenery.It also has benches at intervals allowing walkers to rest while enjoying nature's beauty.

5. Day Lake Hiking Trails: These trails wind their way around Day Lake featuring diverse landscapes from sandy beaches,pine forests to marshy wetlands.They offer multiple routes catering different difficulty levels hence attracting all types of hikers.

6. Gladstone Sports Park Trails: Primarily used for mountain biking these trails can be explored on foot too .They have varied topography ranging from flat grassland paths to rocky uphill climbs giving thrilling adventure feel.

7. Sand Point Lighthouse & Beach Walkways: Although not traditional 'hiking' trails,the walkways provide leisurely stroll option alongside beachfront leading up:to historic lighthouse.The area is rich in birdlife especially during migration seasons thus adding extra charm.

8. Veterans Memorial Park Paths: Situated inside Veterans memorial park,these paved pathways meander across entire length showcasing war memorials,tall trees,picnic shelters etc.Ideal choice if looking out for short,easy yet enjoyable walks.

9. Escanaba Heritage Trial: This is a 5 mile long trail that connects various parks, recreational facilities and historical sites within the city of Escanaba. It offers an urban hiking experience with plenty of amenities along the way.

10. Pioneer Trail Extension: An extension to Pioneer loop,this section leads hikers deeper into forest .The path becomes narrower & more rugged as it progresses making hike challenging but equally rewarding due its untouched wilderness feel.

11. Rapid River Connector: A connector between Rapid river ski trail and Day lake trails,this route allows experienced hikers for longer treks covering multiple terrains in single go.It's less frequented hence perfect if seeking solitude amidst nature.

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Area Campgrounds
Au Train Beach Campground
E4947 Michigan 28
Au Train, MI

1. Start by heading north on US:41 from Menominee or south on US-41 from Marquette.
2. Continue driving until you reach the town of Powers.
3. In Powers, turn east onto M:35 and drive for approximately 7 miles.
4. Look for signs indicating the entrance to Escanaba River State Forest and turn left onto County Road 442 (also known as Co Rd G18).
5. Follow this road for about 6 miles until you see a sign directing you to take a right into the state forest.

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Michigan State Parks