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Michigan State Parks

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USA Parks
Northwest Region
Hardwood State Forest
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Picnic Table ©
It is always a great day for a picnic in the park.
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The Hardwood State Forest, located in Michigan, is a picturesque and expansive forest that showcases the state's abundant hardwood trees. Spanning over thousands of acres, it offers a diverse range of flora and fauna, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts. Visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of the forest, with its towering oak, maple, and beech trees providing a breathtaking canopy. The forest is also a hub of recreational activities, offering opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife observation, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all who venture into its serene surroundings.
History of the Area
Hardwood State Forest, located in Michigan, has a rich history that traces back to the early settlement days of the state. Here is a brief overview of its history:

1. Settlement and Logging Era (1800s):.
The area that is now Hardwood State Forest was initially covered by dense forests and inhabited by Native American tribes. European settlers arrived in the early 1800s and began logging activities to clear the land for agriculture and other purposes.

2. Timber Boom and Hardwood Logging (late 1800s to early 1900s):.
During the late 19th century, Michigan experienced a timber boom. Hardwood logging became a significant industry, and numerous sawmills were established in the region. Trees, primarily hardwood species like oak, maple, and beech, were harvested extensively for timber and other forest products.

3. Decline of Logging Industry and State Acquisition (early to mid-1900s):.
As the logging industry began to decline, many areas were left depleted and susceptible to wildfires and erosion. Recognizing the need for forest conservation, the state of Michigan started acquiring lands in the region. Between 1909 and 1948, the state purchased several tracts, eventually forming what is today known as Hardwood State Forest.

4. Reforestation and Forest Management (mid-1900s):.
After the state acquired the land, efforts were made to restore and manage the forest. Reforestation programs were undertaken to plant new trees and improve the forest ecosystem. Selective cutting and sustainable forest management practices were implemented to ensure the long-term health and productivity of the forest.

5. Establishment of Recreation Opportunities:.
In addition to forest conservation and management, the state also developed recreational opportunities in Hardwood State Forest. Numerous recreational trails were established for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. This allowed the public to enjoy the natural beauty and diverse wildlife found in the forest.

Hardwood State Forest continues to be managed by the state of Michigan's Department of Natural Resources (DNR). It offers a peaceful and scenic environment for outdoor enthusiasts while serving as an important ecological resource and wildlife habitat.
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.
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Hardwood State Forest is located near Petoskey

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Area Campgrounds
Hearthside Grove Luxury Motorcoach Resort
2400 US-31 North
Petoskey, MI
Petoskey KOA
1800 North US 31
Petoskey, MI
Crooked River RV Park
7384 Cheboygan Street
Alanson, MI
Jellystone ParkT Petoskey
1800 U.S. 31 North
Petoskey, MI
Sun Outdoors Petoskey Bay Harbor
5505 Charlevoix Avenue
Petoskey, MI

1. Start by heading north on I:75 N.
2. Take exit 282 for M:32 toward Gaylord/Alpena.
3. Turn left onto M:32 W and continue driving west.
4. After approximately 13 miles, turn right onto Old Alba Rd/Old US Hwy 27 S (signs for Elmira).
5. Continue straight on this road for about 6 miles until you reach a T:intersection with Thumb Lake Road NE.
6. Turn left onto Thumb Lake Rd NE and drive south for around half a mile before turning right to stay on it.
7. Continue following Thumb Lake Road NE as it curves southwestwardly through scenic rural areas of Antrim County.
8. After approximately another six miles or so along this route,you will arrive at your destination:Hardwood State Forest located near Starvation lake.

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Michigan State Parks