Finding Nature at Seney Wildlife Refuge

Location: Seney, Michigan

Seney Wildlife Refuge is a place of peace, relaxation, and wildlife. It is our favorite stop after a long week of hiking. With everything from waterfowl to eagles to bear, there’s no place quite like it.


Prior to the establishment of Seney in 1935, this area was undergoing massive changes. It started with the logging industry who cut down the red and eastern white pines. After that, the northern hardwood and lowland coniferous forests became the target of mill owners. From there, fires were set to clear away debris making way for land and agricultural development to begin. However, farmers quickly learned that the land wasn’t good for agriculture and the abandoned farmlands reverted to state ownership.

The Michigan Conservation Department, in 1934, recommended that the now abandon land should be set aside for wildlife, primarily migrating waterfowl. In order to create the “perfect environment” for such birds, the department paired with the Civilian Conservation Corps built water control structures, ditches, and roads. These pools still exist in the refuge today, providing a habitat fitting to the common loon and trumpeter swan. Both of these species are considered threatened in the state of Michigan.


When we’ve visited Seney, we usually see waterfowl as that’s what the refuge was designed for. However, we’ve also seen eagles, turtles, muskrats, frogs, and one time a Bear. Seney has a long list of animals that make it their home throughout the year. You really never know what you’re going to encounter when visiting.


The Marshland Wildlife drive is a seven mile, one-way motor tour that takes visitors through the wetlands and forests. There are observations decks and numerous pools along the way. In addition to the motor trail, there are a few nature trails, biking trails, paddling opportunities, and fishing activities available in the refuge.


Seney is located by Germfask, Michigan off of 77 and 28 in the Upper Peninsula. The main entrance is just north of Germfask.

For more information, visit the Seney National Wildlife Refuge website.

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