HURON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE Lake Superior, Michigan
The beacon of Lighthouse Island gleams into the Northern Michigan night from its lonely vantage point 3 miles off the south shore of Lake Superior. Lighthouse Island, or West Huron, is the second largest of eight islands comprising the Huron Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Designated a refuge in 1905, this is the oldest national wildlife refuge in the Midwest Region. It was established for the protection of migratory birds, specifically, a large nesting colony of herring gulls. Despite their small size, totalling only 147 acres, the remoteness and primitive quality of these islands have earned them the designation of a Wilderness Area. The lighthouse on West Huron Island was built in 1868 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Habitat of this unstaffed refuge varies from a sparse covering of red pines and white birch with ground vegetation to barren granite with scattered lichen growth. Resident wildlife species include merlins, bald eagles and a large gull colony on Cattle and Rock islands.
The refuge is managed by staff at Seney National Wildlife Refuge, in Seney, Michigan.
Access to the island is by private boat. The refuge is located three miles off the south shore of Lake Superior and 18 miles east of the Keewenaw Peninsula. Only West Huron Island (Lighthouse Island) is open to the public, during daylight hours, for hiking and nature study. All remaining islands are closed to the public, except by Special Use Permit to biologists, botanists, or other qualified persons in conjunction with approved studies. Exceptions are emergency landings by boats in distress.