Ottawa National Forest

Ottawa National Forest is a United States national forest that is located in the upper peninsula of Michigan. This forest holds 993,010 acres and encompasses many counties including Iron, Ontonagon, Marquette, and Baraga counties. The area was once inhabited by the Ojibwa people, who were known for gathering beaver pelts and trading or selling them with traders from Canada and eastern areas of the United States. When the fur trade declined, this forest and many others were sold in the Treaty of La Pointe in 1854. Between the years of 1892 and 1894, the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway was built, which allowed logging into the forest, leaving only a few old growth red and white pine forests today. The forest was abandoned until 1931, when the federal government created Ottawa National Forest.

Ottawa National Forest holds many natural features including wooded slopes along the shore of Lake Superior, an unnamed hill that reaches a height of 1,900 feet, and the Presque Isle River, which holds eleven waterfalls. This national forest holds a boreal forest ecosystem that is typically rainy during warm and cold months, with the entire forest receiving about two hundred inches of rain per year. Because of the abundant flowing water within the forest, popular recreational activities include kayaking and fishing. Winter activities include cross-country skiing. The forest also holds the Ottawa Visitor Center, which offers visitors exhibits featuring the natural history of the area. This forest is home to three designated wilderness areas including Sylvania Wilderness.

Image Caption: Pinus strobus, Katherine Lake. Ottawa National Forest, Sylvania Wilderness, Michigan. Credit: Joseph O’Brien/Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0 US)