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Ontonagon Ranger District

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General Information

Ontonagon Ranger District Office, Ottawa National Forest
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Ontonagon Ranger District Office, Ottawa National Forest
Description - Ontonagon Ranger District is located in Michigan's western Upper Peninsula, an area with a distinguished history of logging and mining. Bordering the south shore of Lake Superior and the famed Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, the area is marked with over 100 waterfalls and sprawling lakes such as Lake Gogebic which covers a distance of 12,800 water acres and has depths up to 37 feet with averages of 14 feet. Abundant fish species reign throughout the region providing catches of walleye, northern pike, perch, and a variety of trout. The Ontonagon River slices through the district with spectacular Class IV whitewater affording unsurpassed nature photography and paddling opportunities. Beautiful hardwoods and mixed conifers characterize the rolling landscape with elevations reaching over 1,700 feet in the southern areas with hills towering 1,500 feet at Lake Superior. The largest carnivore in Michigan inhabits this region sharing the territory with white-tailed deer, otter, beaver, pine marten, mink, and other fur-bearing creatures. Bird life is abundant as well and may be viewed all four seasons, day and night. From eye-catching songbirds such as indigo buntings, red-eyed vireos, yellow-rumped warblers, and scarlet tanagers to impressive bald eagles, green herons, and kingfishers seen clinging to water's edge, to the great horned owl and the seldom seen great gray owl, Ontonagon's Ranger District boasts unrivaled displays.

Attractions - Ontonagon Ranger District features two developed campgrounds, one major river, numerous streamlets, and second and perhaps third-growth forestlands. Like much of Michigan, the Ontonagon Ranger District invites four-season visitation. Fabulous displays of fall foliage emerge from the oak, hickory, beech and maple enticing long afternoon drives or leisurely walks. In winter, the stately conifers support massive blankets of pristine snow enveloping sparkling snowmobile thoroughfares on hundreds of state and federal lands. Call the Lake Gogebick Chamber of Commerce at 906-842-3611 for details. In spring, wildflowers and ferns emerge at forest floor enticing Old Grade Cross-country Ski Trail users to kick off the skis replacing them with hiking boots in search of Indian Pipe, pitcher plants and edible morel mushrooms. Summer brings a bevy of long-distance hikers enjoying the numerous short excursions on the District and a segment of the North Country Trail, a National Scenic Trail which when completed will extend 4,000 miles from New York to North Dakota. Don't forget late summer when berry picking is prime! Bob's Lake Campground is one of the two developed camping areas offering an interpretive trail and developed swimming beach, perfect for families. Those looking for a remote experience are welcome to backcountry camp within the District's boundary but should be prepared to pack in their water supply and pack out their trash. 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 - Recreations include backpacking, camping, fishing, paddling, swimming, picnicking, biking, hiking, wildlife watching, snowmobiling, skiing, and more.

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 - The Ontonagon Ranger District encompasses the northwestern portion of Houghton County and a portion of southern Ontonagon County in the western Upper Peninsula.

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More Information

Contact Information:
Ontonagon Ranger District, 1209 Rockland Road , Ontonagon, MI, 49953, Phone: 906-884-2085, Fax: 906-884-4830, TTY: 906-884-2411

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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