The Seney Wilderness is part of the 95,238 acre Seney National Wildlife Refuge. At first glance the entire Refuge appears wild, but in fact much of it is carefully managed to provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife. However, if you keep looking you will notice the western one-third of the Refuge contains no roads or man-made structures. This is the Wilderness area, the second largest in the state of Michigan.
Here you may see a bald eagle perched in a giant pine tree, or glimpse the reclusive gray wolf. The area is also home to moose, black bear, coyote, bobcat, white-tailed deer, fox, mink, marten, fisher, otter, beaver and muskrats. Birds include the yellow rail, sandhill crane, spruce grouse and a variety of songbirds
Once the land of Seney lay beneath an ancient lake. When the lake disappeared, winds swirled sand from its bottom into dunes. Eventually these became covered with trees and brush to form a string of islands in the midst of a vast bogland. Today, most of the Seney Wilderness is "string bog," puncuated with pine islands. The bogs support unusual vegetation such as the carnivorous pitcher plant. On the islands you will find large red and white pines that have survived countless fires and the logger's axe.
Leave No Trace
Seney Wilderness is open during daylight hours only. No camping is allowed and no established trails exist. Campfires are also prohibited. Horses are not allowed on any portion of Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
The Wilderness area is located 10 miles west of the town of Seney. Access is best from highway 28 or the Creighton Truck Trail. The Refuge headquarters and visitor's center are located 5 miles south of Seney on highway 77. The office is open Monday through Friday, 7:30am - 4:00pm all year and the visitor center is open 9am to 5pm every day from May 15th - October 15th
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
The Wilderness is a great place to explore the wonders of a string bog ecosystem, if you like to follow your own path. In the winter hike the Wilderness wearing snowshoes, for a different perspective.
Bird watching, photography and nature study opportunities abound. Mushroom gathering and berry picking are allowed.
Hunting is permitted for Ruffed-Grouse, American Woodcock, snowshoe hare, white-tailed deer and black bear. Contact the Refuge headquarters for specific regulations.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
Much of the Wilderness is wetlands. While hiking you will encounter bogs, streams and beaver dams. Fast drying clothing and appropriate foot wear are recommended. Since there are no trails a compass and/or GPS is a must.
Safety and Current Conditions
Biting insects are the gatekeepers of the Seney Wilderness, so come prepared or plan your trip around their life cycles. Spring is when biting insects are most abundant. Their numbers wane in the hot summer months, but can still be bothersome at dawn and dusk or after rains. Breezy days will offer some relief. In the fall, after the first frost, biting insect populations drop dramatically.
Want to Volunteer for Wilderness?
Citizens who volunteer their time to steward our wilderness areas are an essential part of wilderness management. Contact the following groups to inquire about volunteer opportunities.