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Huron Shores Ranger Station

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General Information

River catch on the Huron-Manistee National Forests
Copyright: - US Forest Service
River catch on the Huron-Manistee National Forests
Description - The Huron-Manistee National Forest (964,974 acres) is actually two forests combined for administration purposes. The Huron Shores Ranger Station is part of the 433,912-acre Huron National Forest. Aptly named, Huron Shores Ranger Station stretches from the Great Lake Huron to areas west of M-65. Fishing is synonymous with the Huron Shores Ranger Station. A wide variety of warmwater and coldwater species inhabit the diverse waterways that include perhaps Michigan's most notable, the Au Sable River. So well known, the Au Sable River is affectionately referred to as "The River." As a major tributary to Lake Huron, a 23-mile stretch has been designated a National Scenic River. Three major reservoirs manage the natural forces of the Au Sable: the Loud Dam Pond, Crooke Dam Pond, and Foote Dam Pond. Much of the region is characterized by some f the flattest terrain and lowest elevations (900 feet) on the entire Huron-Manistee National Forest. Mid-sized lakes, small pothole ponds, and numerous streamlets dot the mixed hardwood and conifer landscape. Wildlife inhabiting the region ranges from migratory birds and butterflies, to large fur-bearers and common reptiles.

Attractions - The Huron Shores Ranger Station offers the outdoor enthusiast a wide range of sporting destinations. Water-oriented activities dominate, particularly on or around the 150-mile Au Sable River. Including the Mainstream, East, South, and North Branches, the river provides anglers with harvests of salmon, steelhead, rainbow, northern pike, walleye, bass and others. Boating and paddling opportunities exist the entire route with numerous outfitters dotting the lengthy river route. Hikers enjoy the river as well. Eagle Run provides a loop trail system for hiking, cross-country skiing and mountain biking while the Highbanks Trail System provides a scenic backcountry linear trail overlooking the Au Sable River Valley.

There are over seven developed campgrounds, including Rollways Campground on the Au Sable, each equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, drinking water, and restrooms. Inland lake campgrounds include Round Lake, Horseshoe Lake and Jewell Lake. Campers will find mid-sized lakes amid restful, quiet woodlands and open fields where kids can frolic on the soft sands of a developed beach or fish from shallow shorelines. Monument Campground is a popular destination featuring a rustic camping area that was originally created by the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. Three notable day trips from Monument include the River Road Scenic Byway, the Lumberman's Monument Visitor Center (along the Byway), and Iargo Springs, a natural spring with steep drop-offs, a scenic overlook, and historical plaque.

Pine River area is another water-oriented destination offering a variety of pleasures including paddling, camping, berry picking and spring mushroom gathering. Known as a prime viewing location for the endangered Kirtland's warbler, the quiet backcountry visitor may also get a glimpse of white-tailed deer, fox, coyote, otter, mink, beaver, and kingfishers. Other good wildlife viewing opportunities exist in the Hoist Lakes Area, where backpackers and cross-country skiers are invited to enjoy lengthy excursions.

Snowmobilers find 166 miles of route available between Iosco and Alcona counties. Call 989-739-0728 for maps.

Recreation - Recreations enjoyed on the Huron Shores Ranger Station include paddling, camping, picnicking, swimming, boating, fishing, nature study, hiking, berry picking, mushroom gathering, horseback riding, mountain biking, bird watching, wildlife viewing, and an array of winter sports.

Climate - Northern Michigan normally experiences mild summers with average temperatures around 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Winter temperatures average 14 - 22 degrees F (-10 to -6 degrees C). Yearly rain and snowmelt in the region averages 28 - 36 inches but can be dramatically altered by the "lake effect," thus depositing significant amounts of snow within a short period of time causing hazardous road conditions.

Location - Huron Shores Ranger Station administers the eastern portion of Huron National Forest in the lower northern peninsula of Michigan. Major routes include Michigan 55, 65 and 72.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: David J. Illes and Dale C. VanWashenova (Troy, MI)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Written by David: This was our second Au Sable Canoe trip and Dale's third. We canoed from Grayling to the 4001 Bridge which is near Glennie. According to our maps, this is about a 120 river mile trip. We started Tuesday morning and encountered some steady rain. We were prepared with rain ponchoes and large garbage bags to cover our gear with. It soon cleared up and became a very nice day. We saw about 10 deer total. Including one fawn in which we floated to within 30 feet of. We also saw a bald eagle which had it's baby flying close behind over the river. Additional wildlife included numerous birds, otters, squirrels, and rabbits. Our goal was to reach the Parmalee Bridge to camp for the night but fell a little short and ended up camping along the river just short of the North Branch. The next day (Wednesday) we set out early and had beautiful weather. We stopped at the Parmalee campgound to refill our water supply and continued to proceed down river. Most of the fisherman we met on the river were fly fishing, so I wasn't expecting much with my reel and lures, but we were both trilled when I pulled out a rainbow trout with a dancing minnow. From Grayling to the Parmalee is mostly private land with many cabins along the way. This does not appear to deter the wildlife though. As Mio nears the wilderness thickens and beyond that is becomes very prestine. At the Mio damn we stopped and hit the local store and McDonalds for food and supplies. Then once again hit the river seeking our next camp site. On this day we encountered more deer and wildlife as well as another bald eagle. We settled in at the Meadow Springs camp site. There, I also caught another trout. On our final day (Thursday), we set out early again. As we canoed down the river I caught one more trout and a walleye (none of which were keepers). We later saw what we thought was a wolf, but have heard that there is not any in these parts, so are reviewing to see what else it could have been. We finsihed up our day around 2:00 p.m. at the 4001 Bridge, very exhausted but excited about our experiences. In review, your not going to find a better canoe trip than on the Au Salbe. Be sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and leave your self plenty of time to enjoy the sites and absord the beauty of the wilderness. I would not recomend doing as much as we did in that short amount of time. There were many things in which we passed up on in order to fit our schedule. Be prepared for some heavy paddling through the backwater leading up to the Mio Damn. Save a majority of your down time for the sterch past the damn where there are many more places to stop and enjoy the scenery or partake in other activities. And last but not least, make sure you climb the steep steps up to the Au Sable High Banks scenic overlook. The view is breathtaking and makes you not want to leave the wild.

More Information

Contact Information:
Huron Shores Ranger Station, 5761 North Skeel Road , Oscoda, MI, 48750, Phone: 989-739-0728, TTY: 989-739-0806

Additional Information:
Huron-Manistee National Forests - The Huron-Manistee National Forest is spread across the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Sandy, rolling and forested hills make up the Huron- Manistee, the only National Forest in Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

Huron-Manistee National Forests - Official agency website.

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