Hiawatha National Forest

Hiawatha National Forest is a 894,836-acre (362,127 ha) National Forest in the Upper Peninsula of the state of Michigan in the United States. Commercial logging is conducted in some areas. The United States Forest Service administers this National Forest; it is physically divided into two subunits, commonly called the Eastside 46°14′N 84°50′W / 46.233°N 84.833°W / 46.233; -84.833 and Westside 46°08′N 86°40′W / 46.133°N 86.667°W / 46.133; -86.667. In descending order of land area it lies in parts of Chippewa, Delta, Mackinac, Alger, Schoolcraft, and Marquette counties. Chippewa and Mackinac counties are in the Eastside, whereas the rest are in the Westside. The smaller Eastside contains about 44% of the forest's area, whereas the larger Westside has about 56%. Forest headquarters are located in Escanaba, Michigan. Eastside ranger district offices are located in Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace, while Westside offices are in Manistique, Munising, and Rapid River.

Eastside was a large infertile sandy area that was never homesteaded or developed. It was designated Marquette National Forest by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909. This land was administered with Huron National Forest as the Michigan National Forest from 1918 intil 1962, when it was transferred to Hiawatha. The forest was authorized to buy an additional 307,000 acres (124,200 ha) in 1925 and 50,000 acres (20,230 ha) in 1935. Westside began being purchased in 1928 and was designated Hiawatha National Forest in 1931. This unit was extensively replanted by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The forest has over 100 miles (160 km) of shoreline. Both east and west units have shoreline on both Lake Superior and Lake Michigan; the east unit also has shoreline on Lake Huron and includes Round Island and its lighthouse. The west unit borders Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, which is administered by the National Park Service, and the Grand Island National Recreation Area, which is separately administered by the U.S. Forest Service.

Several lighthouses are located along the shores. The Point Iroquois Light is operated as a museum. The North Country Trail passes through the forest.

The Hiawatha National Forest contains six designated wilderness areas:

  • Big Island Lake Wilderness
  • Delirium Wilderness
  • Horseshoe Bay Wilderness
  • Mackinac Wilderness
  • Rock River Canyon Wilderness
  • Round Island Wilderness

According to the forest service, it was "Named after the Mohawk chief, Hiawatha, who brought about the confederation known as the Five Nations of the Iroquois. He was also the hero of Longfellow's poem, 'Hiawatha'."

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