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Kenton Ranger District

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General Information

Moose feeding at woodland stream
Copyright: Patty Elton - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Moose feeding at woodland stream
Description - Kenton Ranger District is located in Michigan's western Upper Peninsula, an area known for its woods and waters. Two Wilderness Areas under the protection of the U.S. Wilderness Act of 1964 are located within Kenton. Descendants of Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the reaping machine, originally owned McCormick Wilderness. Straddling the divide between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, a region ranging from nearly level terrain to rocky cliffs, McCormick's water is what draws most visitors. The unspoiled and rugged Wilderness has many inhabitants including moose, black bear, pine marten, otters, minks, and a bevy of bird life. The Sturgeon Wilderness is triumphed by the Wild and Scenic Sturgeon River that rushes out of the northern portion over the 20-foot volcanic outcropping of Sturgeon Falls, and through a gorge that reaches 300 feet in depth and a mile in width flowing all the way to Sturgeon River Campground. Magnificent scenery continues west to Sparrow Rapids, portion of the East Branch Ontonagon River. Hardwood and conifer ridges reach 1,300 feet, lakes span over 900 acres with depths of 50 feet, and clear sapphire waters support healthy populations of northern pike, walleye, crappie, trout, and perch.

Attractions - Seven developed campgrounds rest on Kenton Ranger District. Each campground features a rustic atmosphere of tables, grills, and pit toilets. Most campgrounds have ample privacy, drinking water, and perhaps a few other amenities such as a developed swimming beach, but all feature magnificent north wood scenery of lush forests, fast-rolling streams, sparkling lakes, scenic waterfalls, or picturesque outcroppings. The two wilderness areas, McCormick and Sturgeon, are more of a challenge to penetrate and users should be well read and prepared before attempting an excursion. Paddling the Sturgeon River is a popular recreation affording 27 paddling miles but users should be aware that waters reach Class IV. Besides the usual recreations of cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, picnicking, and wildlife viewing, Kenton Ranger District affords access to the North Country Trail, a National Scenic Trail which when completed will extend 4,000 miles from New York to North Dakota. Bicycles are allowed on National Forest trails except where posted. Bicycles are also prohibited in congressionally designated Wilderness Areas. Prohibited trails include portions of the North Country National Scenic Trail.

Recreation - Abundant outdoor recreations are offered including backpacking, camping, fishing, paddling, swimming, picnicking, hiking, biking, wildlife watching, snowmobiling, and skiing.

Climate - The Upper Peninsula normally experiences mild summers with average temperatures near 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Winter temperatures average 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C). Rain and snowmelt in the region can reach up to 200 inches annually. Travelers should be aware that significant amounts of snow could fall within a relatively short period of time resulting in hazardous road conditions.

Location - Kenton Ranger District falls on the northwest corner of Iron County and southwest corner of Hougton County in the western Upper Peninsula.

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More Information

Contact Information:
Kenton Ranger District, M-28 , Kenton, MI, 49943, Phone: 906-852-3500, Fax: 906-852-3618, TTY: 906-852-3618

Additional Information:
Ottawa National Forest - The almost one million acres of the Ottawa National Forest are located in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It extends from the south shore of Lake Superior down to Wisconsin and the Nicolet National Forest.

Ottawa National Forest - Official agency website.


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