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Michigan State Parks

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USA Parks
Northwest Region
Pere Marquette State Forest
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The Pere Marquette State Forest Campground encompasses lands in the upper lower peninsula on the western side of the state. Counties within the Pere Marquette, are: Leelanau, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Mason, Lake, Osceola, Oceana, Newaygo and Mecosta.
History of the Area
Pere Marquette State Forest is a notable and extensive forested area located in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, United States. The history of the forest dates back to the early 20th century when it was first established.

In the early 1900s, Michigan faced significant challenges with deforestation due to excessive logging and unregulated timber harvesting. As a result, state officials recognized the need to protect and conserve the state's natural resources. In 1903, legislation was enacted to create the Michigan State Park Commission, which was responsible for acquiring and managing state lands for conservation and recreational purposes.

A few years later, in 1919, the Michigan Legislature passed acts that enabled the establishment of the Pere Marquette State Forest. The forest was named after French Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette, who explored the Great Lakes region during the 17th century. The initial acquisition of land for the forest started in 1919, and over time, additional parcels of land were added, eventually leading to the extensive forested area it is today.

The primary purpose of establishing the Pere Marquette State Forest was to conserve and manage the forest resources sustainably. The forest was mainly used for timber production, ensuring a constant supply of timber for the growing needs of the state's industries. Sustainable forestry practices have been implemented in the forest, allowing for the preservation of the ecosystem while providing economic benefits for the state.

The Pere Marquette State Forest has become a vital recreational area for outdoor enthusiasts. It features several campgrounds, trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, as well as lakes and rivers for fishing and boating. Wildlife habitats have also been protected within the forest, promoting biodiversity and offering opportunities for wildlife observation and hunting.

The Pere Marquette State Forest covers about 540,000 acres, making it one of the largest state forests in Michigan. It is managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and remains an essential natural resource for both environmental conservation and recreational activities.
The Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry into state parks and recreation areas, state boat launches, state forest campgrounds and state trail parking lots. Details and information on how to obtain your Michigan Recreation Passport can be found by visiting the MICHIGAN RECREATION PASSPORT web page.
1. Pere Marquette Oaks RV Resort: This is a private campground that offers full hook-up sites for your RV, including water, electricity and sewer.

2. Lake Michigan Recreation Area: Located in the heart of the forest itself, this area has several campgrounds with basic facilities such as picnic tables and fire rings.

3. Manistee River Campground: A rustic camping site located along the scenic Manistee River within Pere Marquette State Forest offering tent-only campsites without any amenities except pit toilets.

4. Timber Surf Camping Resort: It's an ideal place to stay if you're looking for more comfort during your trip; they offer cabins rentals alongside traditional camping spots.

5. Ludington East/Pere Marquette River KOA Holiday: Offers both cabin rental options or places to park an RV/trailer/tent.

6. Baldwin/White Cloud Ranger Station: They have dispersed primitive backcountry style campsites available throughout their district which falls partially inside PM state forest.

7. Hurricane river campground: Nestled among old growth pines on lake michigan shoreline providing beautiful views from its sandy beachfront sites.

8. Silver Creek State Park: Although not directly in PM state forest it's close by & provides modern family friendly facility with electric hookup at all 200+sites plus mini:cabins are also available here.

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Pere Marquette State Forest is

The North Country Trail includes 65 miles within this State Forest: This National Scenic Trail hiking route from North Dakota to New York includes over 1500 miles in Michigan.

Trails in the park:

Betsie River - 10 (Miles), Biking, Hiking

Platte Springs - 2.5 (Miles), Biking, Hiking

Lake Ann - 5.8 (Miles), Biking, Hiking

Lost Lake - 6.3 (Miles), Biking, Hiking

Muncie Lake - 11.5 (Miles), Biking, Hiking, Cross Country Ski

Vasa Trail - 16.7 (Miles), Biking, Hiking, Cross Country Ski

Sand Lake Quiet Area - 10 (Miles), Biking, Hiking

Cadillac - 11.3 (Miles), Biking, Hiking, Cross Country Ski

Silver Creek - 4 (Miles), Biking, Hiking

Pine Valley - 8.2 (Miles), Biking, Hiking, Cross Country Ski

Pine Forest - 0.8 (Miles), Biking, Hiking

Sheep Ranch - 4.5 (Miles), Biking, Hiking

Osceola - 0.5 (Miles), Biking, Hiking

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Area Campgrounds
Irons RV Park & Campground
4623 West 10-1/2 Mile Rd.
Irons, MI
Leisure Time Campground
9214 West 5 Mile Road
Irons, MI
Ann's Putman Lake RV Park and Campground
2240 W Wonderland Street
Baldwin, MI
Pickerel Lakeside Campground and Cottages
12666 North Woodbridge (M-37)
Bitely, MI
Ludington East / Pere Marquette River KOA Holiday
11713 West 40th Street
Township of Branch, MI

1. Start by heading north on US:31 N from Muskegon or south on US-31 S from Ludington.
2. Continue driving along US:31 until you reach Scottville.
3. In Scottville, turn west onto W 4th St/US:10 and continue for about 6 miles.
4. Take a slight left onto Custer Rd/S Main St and drive for approximately 5 miles.
5. Turn right onto E Sugar Grove Rd and proceed eastward for around 7 miles.

At this point, there are multiple access points within the Pere Marquette State Forest depending on your desired destination:

For Bowman Bridge Campground:

6a) After traveling along E Sugar Grove Rd, take a sharp left (northwest) at Walhalla Road/Walhalla Hwy/Mason County Highway F30 towards Branch/Oriole/Bowman Lake campground area.
7a) Drive straight ahead following signs leading to Bowman Bridge Campground.

For Gleasons Landing Boat Launch:

6b) Instead of turning northwest at Walhalla Road/F30 as mentioned above,.
- Keep going straight past that intersection continuing eastbound on East Sugar Grove road
- Follow it all the way down till you see signs indicating "Gleasons Landing" boat launch site

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Michigan State Parks