Pigeon River Country State Forest

Scott Whitcomb, Unit Manager

The Pigeon River Country (PRC) unit manages state forest lands in a block of land in parts of Otsego, Cheboygan, and Montmorency counties. Directions to Pigeon River Country Headquarters

Pigeon River Country Management Unit Map

Click on the map to view the Pigeon River Country Forest Management Unit

Scroll to the bottom of the page for more information on current management strategies and specific State Forest compartments

Inventory Schedules

The Open House: Your Opportunity to Participate
Each year, management recommendations are presented at open houses. As the name implies, open houses are informal sessions that give citizens an opportunity to speak with foresters, wildlife biologists, and other resource professionals. The inventories, compartment maps, and recommended management actions are available for the public to look at and provide suggestions to MDNR staff.
2018 Year of Entry Open House Schedule

The Compartment Review: The Final Plan
Modifications to the management recommendations are then incorporated into a finalized compartment plan to be presented at the "compartment review". The compartment review is a formal presentation that incorporates information from the initial inventory, the multi-disciplinary input period, and the open house. The presentation outlines the formal management plan for the compartment and includes an explanation of forest treatments if any are proposed.
2018 Year of Entry State Forest Compartment Review Schedule

Fuelwood Information


Learn About the Pigeon River Country State Forest

Online Guide to Pigeon River State Forest

Pigeon River Country Concept of Management

Pigeon River Country Equestrian Riding Opportunities
There are over 250 miles of horseback riding opportunities on the state forest road network and 30 miles of the Shore to Shore Riding/Hiking Trail in the Pigeon River Country.

Equestrian Information
Equine Access for the Pigeon River Country State Forest
PRC - Proposed Equestrian Access Map

Equestrian access is being examined at the Pigeon River Country (PRC) as part of the overall access plan of the forest and as directed by Senate Bill (SB) 578 of 2009. The Concept of Management that guides management activities in the forest called for a evaluation of the vehicle access plan for the area and that effort has been expanded to look at all forms of access within the forest including motorized (vehicle, snowmobile, motorcycle) and non-motorized (equestrian, bicycle, hiking) means of access. Further, Senate Bill 578 of 2009 (passed as 2010 PA 45) requires the Department to "review the restrictions on access by pack and saddle animals previously imposed," by June 15, 2010. This bill also sets conditions for when the Department may restrict pack and saddle access on Department-owned lands and envisions a public meeting before the Commission as part of the review process. To meet the review requirement of SB 578, the Department has taken the following steps and made the following determinations:

  • In April 2010, the Department completed a review of the restrictions, along with the associated Land Use Orders of the Director, which resulted from A Concept of Management for the Pigeon River Country. A proposal to modify the restrictions on access for equestrian camping, and pack and saddle riding, was developed by Department staff. This proposal would add two additional locations for equestrian camping and open an additional 4.29 miles of trails for equestrian use.
  • Department staff met with the Pigeon River Country Advisory Council State Forest Access Committee on April 22, 2010, to receive input on the modified restrictions and proposed changes to access.
  • Stakeholder input and public input on the Department staff proposal was also obtained from a meeting with the Pigeon River Country Access Committee held on April 26, 2010.
  • The Natural Resources Commission will hold a public meeting at its June 3, 2010 meeting to receive testimony on the Department's proposal for access by pack and saddle animals in the PRC.
  • The memorandum and map depicting the Department's recommendations will be posted on the Department website from May 17 through June 7, 2010, for public review and comment.

Comments may be directed to: PRC Forest Management Unit or DNR address at 9966 Twin Lakes Rd., Vanderbilt, MI 49795.

The PRC Unit is the smallest (105,049 acres) of the 15 Units in the State Forest System, however it has the most contiguous state land ownership.
Pigeon River

The PRC Unit provides forest products; has many land recreational opportunities and is in the heart of Michigan's elk range.

Elk Picture

The Unit has 6 campgrounds, one horse trail campground and a group horse camp. Hiking and riding trails are maintained in the Unit. Bicycle riders and cross country skiers are welcome to use the trails. It is a place to hunt, fish, camp, hike, cross country ski, snowshoe, ride a horse or just take a drive. The unit is home to a wide variety of wildlife ranging from elk to songbirds.

Three rivers flow through the PRC Unit: the Pigeon, Black and Sturgeon Rivers. The Pigeon River is a designated Natural River.

Pigeon Natural River Map
Pigeon Natural River Map

Pigeon River Plan
The Pigeon River is located in the north-central part of the southern peninsula of Michigan. Its headwaters are located a few miles northeast of Gaylord. The river then flows in a northerly direction to its mouth at Mullet Lake, a distance of 42 miles. The Pigeon River system drains a surface area of approximately 88,000 acres and include 80 linear miles of stream. Pigeon River Zoning - Natural Rivers Administrative Rules

PRC Unit areas nominated for legal dedication:

Nominated for Legal Dedication (3)


  • Pigeon River Pines - 220 acres
  • Grindstone Creek - 160 acres
  • Dog Lake - 680 acres

Pigeon River State Forest

Southern portion of Cheboygan county, approximately 8 miles east of Wolverine

Hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, fishing, outdoor education.

The Pigeon River Pine area is exemplary because of the over 100 acres of white pine (most about 100 years old). The Grindstone Creek area encompasses a northern hardwood forest with many large trees, including some old growth beech and maple trees remaining from the original forest. It also contains four acres of cedar swamp and a portion of the Grindstone Creek headwaters. The Dog Lake area is considered to be one of the most remote and wild areas in the region. Nesting loons, bald eagles, and osprey are a few of the many animals using the lake.

Pigeon River Area, Dog Lake
Pigeon River Area, Dog Lake

2018 YOE Compartment Maps

All State Forest Compartment Review maps and documents are drafts to be used for general planning purposes. Links to these documents will be removed after the review occurs.

For a map of the Pigeon River Forest Management Unit's 2018 compartments, view the Pigeon River Locator Map.

The Pigeon River Forest Management Unit has 2018 YOE Review packets available for the following compartments. The packets were posted July 28, 2016 unless noted otherwise:

In addition to the review of these forest treatments, the DNR will be seeking public input regarding special conservation areas, or areas recognized as having unique values, such as old growth, springs or wildlife habitat corridors. This review will utilize the most up-to-date categories of special conservation areas and values.

Archived State Forest Compartment Maps

2017 YOE Compartments
2016 YOE Compartments
2015 YOE Compartments
2014 YOE Compartments
2013 YOE Compartments
2012 YOE Compartments
2011 YOE Compartments
2010 YOE Compartments
2009 YOE Compartments
2008 YOE Compartments
2007 YOE Compartments