Description - While much of the St. Ignace Ranger District is inhabited, there are over 16,000 acres of designated wilderness, a 4,233-acre lake that is relatively undeveloped, and miles of rivers and streams that afford remote exploration. Outdoor enthusiasts can discover the many year-round trails traversing rounded hills, swampland, and sandy shores of two Great Lakes, Michigan and Huron. Wildlife in the area is vast ranging from migratory songbirds to endangered cranes, from large fur-bearers to three species of trout. Originally inhabited by several Native American tribes, Father Jacques Marquette, a French priest and explorer paved the way for Whiteman settlement. By the late 19th century the logging industry had created a thriving commerce. Today, much of St. Ignace Ranger District is comprised of second growth forest managed for resource and recreation use.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
- Outdoor recreationists will find a harvest of activity on St. Ignace Ranger District. Developed campgrounds offer limited facilities at many scenic lake locations, while primitive backpacking is enjoyed in remote lowlands, oftentimes with sites resting on good trout waters. The three designated wilderness areas include Round Island, Horseshoe Bay and Mackinac. The Mackinac is perfect for the paddler, in fact the Carp River Canoe Trail affords an up close look at the wilderness that many consider too risky to venture by foot. Round Island, east of the Mackinac Bridge, has difficult access yet offers a secluded sandy beach with views of ocean freighters. The Horseshoe Bay Wilderness contains seven miles of Great Lakes frontage on Horseshoe and St. Martins Bays in North Lake Huron. A variety of terrain and habitat house many species of bird and wildlife including sandhill cranes, raptors, migratory songbirds, mink, beaver, fox, coyotes, and black bear. Backpackers and hikers venture in to get a glimpse of the wildlife wealth. Canoeists and anglers will find rich resources such as Carp River and Brevoort Lake. Cross-country skiers have over 10 miles of groomed trail on the Ranger District while snowmobilers are invited to use all roads and trails on the Forest unless otherwise posted. Historians will enjoy visiting Round Island Lighthouse, a beacon to many freighters and pleasure vessels for three centuries. The St. Ignace area offers much in the way of recreation. There is a bounty of ferry services leading to variety of stops including the historic Mackinac Island. Short drives carry the visitor to such popular stops as the Michilimackinac Museum and the Father Marquette Memorial Park.
Recreation - St. Ignace Ranger District welcomes camping, picnicking, sightseeing, viewing historical sites, Great Lake fishing, inland lake and stream fishing, hiking, wildlife watching, nature study, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.
Climate - The area of the national forest normally experiences mild summers with average temperatures around 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Winter temperatures average 14 - 18 degrees F (-10 to -8 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.
The St. Ignace Ranger District covers the landscape immediately north and northwest of the historic town of St. Ignace to include Hay Lake, Round Lake and Breevort Lake. Major thoroughfares include Interstate 75 and U.S. Highway 2.