Ottawa National Forest
The Ottawa National Forest is a 1.0 million acre (4,050 km²) national forest in the Upper Peninsula of the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

. It includes much of Gogebic
Gogebic County, Michigan
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 17,370 people, 7,425 households, and 4,581 families residing in the county. The population density was 16 people per square mile . There were 10,839 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile...

 and Ontonagon
Ontonagon County, Michigan
-National protected areas:* Keweenaw National Historical Park * Ottawa National Forest -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 7,818 people, 3,456 households, and 2,225 families residing in the county. The population density was 6 people per square mile . There were 5,404 housing units...

 counties, as well as slices of Iron
Iron County, Michigan
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 13,138 people, 5,748 households, and 3,615 families residing in the county. The population density was 11 people per square mile . There were 8,772 housing units at an average density of 8 per square mile...

, Houghton
Houghton County, Michigan
-National protected areas:* Keweenaw National Historical Park * Ottawa National Forest -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 36,016 people, 13,793 households, and 8,137 families residing in the county. The population density was 36 people per square mile . There were 17,748 housing...

, Baraga
Baraga County, Michigan
-National protected areas:* Keweenaw National Historical Park * Ottawa National Forest -Demographics:As of the 2000 census, there were 8,746 people, 3,353 households, and 2,223 families residing in the county. The population density was 10 people per square mile . There were 4,631 housing units...

, and Marquette
Marquette County, Michigan
-National protected areas:* Hiawatha National Forest * Huron National Wildlife Refuge* Ottawa National Forest -University:Northern Michigan University is a four-year university, established in 1899, located in Marquette, Michigan, on Michigan's Upper Peninsula...

 counties. The forest is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service.

The headquarters are in Ironwood, Michigan
Ironwood, Michigan
Ironwood is a city in Gogebic County in the U.S. state of Michigan, about south of Lake Superior. The population was 6,293 at the 2000 census. The city is on US 2 and is situated opposite the Montreal River from Hurley, Wisconsin. It is the westernmost city in Michigan, situated on the same line...

, on the Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

 border, and the principal visitor center is located in Watersmeet, Michigan, in the southern section of the Forest. These and other towns within and adjacent to the Forest are served by U.S. Highway 2, one of the principal highways of the Western Upper Peninsula. There are local ranger
National Park Ranger
National Park Service Rangers are among the uniformed employees charged with protecting and preserving areas set aside in the National Park System by the United States Congress and/or the President of the United States...

 district offices in Bessemer
Bessemer, Michigan
Bessemer is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 1,914. It is the county seat of Gogebic County....

, Iron River
Iron River, Michigan
Iron River is a city in Iron County in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 1,929. The U.S. Census Bureau 2006 population estimate for this city was 3,122....

, Kenton, Ontonagon
Ontonagon, Michigan
Ontonagon is a village in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the village had a total population of 1,769. It is the county seat of Ontonagon County....

, and Watersmeet.


Dramatic wooded slopes mark the south shore of Lake Superior
Lake Superior
Lake Superior is the largest of the five traditionally-demarcated Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded to the north by the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Minnesota, and to the south by the U.S. states of Wisconsin and Michigan. It is the largest freshwater lake in the...

 within the Ottawa National Forest, particularly within the Black River
Black River (Gogebic County)
The Black River is a river in the Upper Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan, flowing mostly in Gogebic County into Lake Superior at . Its source at is a boreal wetland on the border with Iron County, Wisconsin...

 country between Little Girl's Point and the Presque Isle River
Presque Isle River
The Presque Isle River runs through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and empties into Lake Superior. Along its course, it flows through the Ottawa National Forest and Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. It has 300 mi2 of drainage area in Upper Michigan and Northern Wisconsin.Several...


As the Black River, a National Wild and Scenic River
National Wild and Scenic River
National Wild and Scenic River is a designation for certain protected areas in the United States.The National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was an outgrowth of the recommendations of a Presidential commission, the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission...

, falls from near Copper Peak down towards the lake, it tumbles over seven separate mapped and named waterfall
A waterfall is a place where flowing water rapidly drops in elevation as it flows over a steep region or a cliff.-Formation:Waterfalls are commonly formed when a river is young. At these times the channel is often narrow and deep. When the river courses over resistant bedrock, erosion happens...

s. The Presque Isle river and its major tributary, Copper Creek
Copper Creek
Copper Creek can refer to several streams:*Copper Creek *Copper Creek *Copper Creek *Copper Creek...

, have eleven waterfalls, although four of the Presque Isle falls are outside the national forest and are located within the boundaries of the adjacent Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

Underwood Hill, at 1,867 feet (569 m) in altitude (more than 1,200 feet (370 m) above the level of nearby Lake Superior) is the highest elevation in the Presque Isle River drainage area. However, this is not the highest point in the national forest. That honor belongs to an unnamed 1,900-foot (580 m) hill north of Lac Vieux Desert
Lac Vieux Desert
Lac Vieux Desert is a lake in the United States divided between Gogebic County, Michigan, and Vilas County, Wisconsin. Fed primarily by springs in the surrounding swamps, it is the source of the Wisconsin River, which flows out of its southwest corner...

 in southeastern Gogebic County. Rain or snow that falls on the north side of this hill flows through the Ontonagon River
Ontonagon River
The Ontonagon River is a river flowing to Lake Superior on the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the United States. The main stem of the river is 25 mi long and is formed by a confluence of several longer branches, portions of which have been collectively designated as a National Wild...

 towards Lake Superior; precipitation on the south side flows through the Wisconsin River
Wisconsin River
-External links:* * * , Wisconsin Historical Society* * * *...

 to the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...



The Ottawa National Forest is an area of relatively high precipitation in both winter and summer. Sections of the Forest enjoy more than 200 inches (500 cm) of snow
Snow is a form of precipitation within the Earth's atmosphere in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material. It has an open and therefore soft structure, unless packed by...

 annually. In winter, Lake Superior, which usually does not freeze over, is itself the source of much of the water vapor that falls in the area. In many of the summer months, moist air carried by southerly winds from the faraway Gulf does does not fall below the dew point
Dew point
The dew point is the temperature to which a given parcel of humid air must be cooled, at constant barometric pressure, for water vapor to condense into liquid water. The condensed water is called dew when it forms on a solid surface. The dew point is a saturation temperature.The dew point is...

 in temperature until it enters the Lake Superior basin.

The forested area is rich in water but poor in topsoil
Topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil, usually the top to . It has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms and is where most of the Earth's biological soil activity occurs.-Importance:...

. The glaciers of various Ice Age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

s, including the most recent Wisconsonian glaciation, scraped much of the forested area down to bare rock or sand. The result is a highly characteristic boreal forest ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....



The Ottawa National Forest is home to several clans of the Ojibwa
The Ojibwe or Chippewa are among the largest groups of Native Americans–First Nations north of Mexico. They are divided between Canada and the United States. In Canada, they are the third-largest population among First Nations, surpassed only by Cree and Inuit...

 people who coexisted with the Forest's numerous rocky wetland
A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with water either permanently or seasonally. Wetlands are categorised by their characteristic vegetation, which is adapted to these unique soil conditions....

s. They harvested many of the region's mammals, particularly beaver
The beaver is a primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodent. Castor includes two extant species, North American Beaver and Eurasian Beaver . Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges . They are the second-largest rodent in the world...

, for their pelts, and sold them to traders from Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the eastern United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, such as the traders of the American Fur Company
American Fur Company
The American Fur Company was founded by John Jacob Astor in 1808. The company grew to monopolize the fur trade in the United States by 1830, and became one of the largest businesses in the country. The company was one the first great trusts in American business...

. After the fur trade declined, the nation sold most of the forest in the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe
Treaty of La Pointe
The Treaty of La Pointe may refer to either of two treaties made and signed in La Pointe, Wisconsin between the United States and the Ojibwe Native American peoples...

. A part of the nation used some of the proceeds from their fur trapping to purchase lands around Lac Vieux Desert, where their descendants remain today as the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Lake Superior Chippewa
The Lake Superior Chippewa were a historical band of Ojibwe Indians living around Lake Superior in what is now the northern parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.-Origins:...


As a result of the construction of the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway
Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway
The Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway was an American railroad serving the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the Lake Superior shoreline of Wisconsin. It provided service from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and St. Ignace, Michigan, westward through Marquette, Michigan to Superior, Wisconsin,...

 in 1892-1894, the forest was opened to logging
Logging is the cutting, skidding, on-site processing, and loading of trees or logs onto trucks.In forestry, the term logging is sometimes used in a narrow sense concerning the logistics of moving wood from the stump to somewhere outside the forest, usually a sawmill or a lumber yard...

. A few parcels of old-growth white pine
Eastern White Pine
Pinus strobus, commonly known as the eastern white pine, is a large pine native to eastern North America, occurring from Newfoundland west to Minnesota and southeastern Manitoba, and south along the Appalachian Mountains to the northern edge of Georgia.It is occasionally known as simply white pine,...

 and red pine
Red Pine
Pinus resinosa, commonly known as the red pine or Norway pine, is pine native to North America. The Red Pine occurs from Newfoundland west to Manitoba, and south to Pennsylvania, with several smaller, disjunct populations occurring in the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia and West Virginia, as well...


After the logging era ended, the heavily-exploited forest was partly abandoned. The U.S. federal government established the Ottawa National Forest in 1931, but the forest did not reach its full size until after two large land purchases in 1933 and 1935. In 1935 the national forest reached its maximum size of 1,026,329 acres (4,105 km²). After some privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

s, the Forest reached its current 1.0 million acre (4,000 km²) extent.

During the years after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, growing automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 tourism made it possible for Americans of all groups to visit and enjoy the Ottawa National Forest, and visitation significantly increased.


With its flowing water, Ottawa National Forest is used for fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

, canoe
A canoe or Canadian canoe is a small narrow boat, typically human-powered, though it may also be powered by sails or small electric or gas motors. Canoes are usually pointed at both bow and stern and are normally open on top, but can be decked over A canoe (North American English) or Canadian...

ing, and lake kayak
A kayak is a small, relatively narrow, human-powered boat primarily designed to be manually propelled by means of a double blade paddle.The traditional kayak has a covered deck and one or more cockpits, each seating one paddler...

ing. In winter, the Forest welcomes cross-country skiers and snowmobile
A snowmobile, also known in some places as a snowmachine, or sled,is a land vehicle for winter travel on snow. Designed to be operated on snow and ice, they require no road or trail. Design variations enable some machines to operate in deep snow or forests; most are used on open terrain, including...


The Ottawa National Forest contains three designated U.S. wilderness
Wilderness or wildland is a natural environment on Earth that has not been significantly modified by human activity. It may also be defined as: "The most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet—those last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed with...

 areas, managed as such by the Forest Service. They are McCormick Wilderness
McCormick Wilderness
The McCormick Wilderness is a United States Wilderness Area located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It covers an area of about and is located east of the Baraga-Marquette county line...

 and the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness
Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness
The Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness is a unit within the Ottawa National Forest. It is located in Baraga County and Houghton County within the U.S. state of Michigan. The wilderness is accessible from M-28, which runs south of the unit in a west-to-east direction...

 near Kenton, Michigan, and the Sylvania Wilderness
Sylvania Wilderness
Sylvania Wilderness is an protected area located a few miles west of Watersmeet, Michigan. Sylvania is located entirely within the bounds of the Ottawa National Forest, and is currently being managed as a wilderness area as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System by the U.S. Forest...

near Watersmeet, Michigan.

, the Ottawa National Forest operates under a Resource Management Plan promulgated in 1986.

Ottawa Visitor Center

Opened in 1971, the Ottawa Visitor Center offers interpretive programs and exhibits about the natural history and resources of the Forest. The center's mission is to guide visitors to safe, wise and caring use of the Forest.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.