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Tahquamenon Natural Area


  • Proposed for Legal Dedication
  • Dedications by Natural Resources Commission Resolution (6)

Size: 19,005 acres

Location: Between Newberry and Paradise on M-123

Management: Tahquamenon Falls State Park

Activities: Hiking, birding, canoeing, cross-country skiing, hunting, fishing, outdoor education, and more!

Importance: The natural area includes land in the area of the Upper and Lower Falls, but also a large portion of the park that occurs in the vicinity of Betsy, Sheephead and Clark Lakes. The Upper Falls are one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. The area is undeveloped, for the most part, without roads, buildings or power lines and is considered one of Michigan's largest old-growth northern hardwood forests

Wetlands dominate the area around Betsy, Sheephead and Clark Lakes, including one of the largest northern peatlands in the eastern Upper Peninsula. In the wetter central portions of these peatlands, the black spruce forests become open muskeg, characterized by widely scattered and stunted spruce and tamarack trees. This in turn opens up into true bog, dominated by sedges and low shrubs. These peatlands are great habitat for the moose who may occasionally be seen, as well as providing the perfect conditions for wild cranberry bogs, as well as two state-threatened plant species: small yellow water-lily and wild rye.

Other wildlife in the area include bald eagles, wolf, black bear, coyote, osprey, spruce grouse, sharptail grouse, river otter, fox, porcupine, beaver, mink, pileated woodpeckers, and a variety of waterfowl and songbirds. Due to its location near Whitefish Point, a target for birds entering or returning from Canada, the Tahquamenon area also sees large numbers of migrating birds during the spring and fall migrations. In addition, this is one of the few nesting areas for sandhill cranes in Michigan.