Visitors may encounter the cry of the loons, statuesque sandhill cranes, nesting bald eagles, playful otters and industrious beaver living on over 95,000 acres of diverse habitats which provide a home to a wide variety of plant and wildlife species.

Penny Gordon

Deer In Cattails photo credit Penny Gordon
Seney National Wildlife Refuge

Location: (Temporary Visitor Center / Office) 1986 River Road - Seney, Michigan 49883
Hours: Open 9am - 4pm Tuesday - Saturday
Phone: (906) 586-9851

Seney National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 for the protection and production of migratory birds and other wildlife. Today the Refuge is comprised of a rich mosaic of marshes, swamps, bogs, grasslands, and forests. Nearly two-thirds of the Refuge is classified as wetland. It is one of the best wildlife excursions you can make, it is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. There is no charge to visit the refuge.

Seney Wildlife Refuge

National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. At Seney National Wildlife Refuge you can take a break from your long drive with a relaxing walk on one of our many trails. Visitors can participate in several activities while visiting the refuge.

Tom Beck

Seney Birds photo credit Tom Beck
Seney Birds

Ed Post

Seney Reflection photo credit Ed Post
Seney Reflection

Mary Weber

Seney Turtles photo credit Mary Weber
Seney Turtles

Seney National Wildlife Refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System has over 146 million acres of lands and waters with 567 refuges in all 50 states and six territories. The Refuge lands are divided. The largest portion, 95,210 acres, is located near the town of Seney, Mich. The 55 acre, Whitefish Point Unit, can be found 10 miles north of Paradise, Mich.

The Refuge was established in 1935. At that time the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was in full swing and the dollar-a-day boys were put to work constructing a series of pools to entice ducks and geese to use Refuge lands. Today theses pools can be seen from the 7-mile Marshland Wildlife Drive and the 1.5 mile Fishing Loop, which start near the visitor center. The roads are one-way with breathtaking views and places you can pull off to look around, fish, eat berries, or take pictures.

The Refuge is a mosaic of shrubs, wetlands, forests, pools, and grasslands - a bird watchers dream with over 200 species. Common sightings include American bittern, sharp-tailed grouse, Wilson’s snipe, belted kingfisher, cedar waxwing, ducks, warblers, and woodpeckers. Bald eagles, osprey, common loons, Canada geese, and trumpeter swans can be seen tending their nests and chicks.

Deer, muskrat, mink, fisher, beaver, and the occasional wolf or moose can be seen as well. Refuge explorers may want to start at the Visitor Center, open May 15 to Oct. 20 from 9am to 5pm daily. Visitors will find maps, brochures, tour information, and a 15 minute film. Borrow a pair of binoculars, activity pack or fishing gear. Jr. Ranger materials can be picked up at the front desk. Visitors can download the Tour Seney Refuge or Agents of Discovery apps from Google Play or the App Store for private tour options.The Marshland Bookstore offers books and souvenirs.

Take a hike or hop on your bike and explore. All refuge roads are open to non-motorized modes of travel. The Pine Ridge Nature Trail and the Northern Hardwoods Trails are great places to hike, ski or snowshoe. Paddlers can enjoy a float down the Manistique River. At the Whitefish Point Unit visitors can enjoy a walk on the beach or the trail to the Point Boardwalk. In spring and fall thousands of birds can be seen crossing Lake Superior going to or from Canada. From May to August large portions of the beach are closed for the nesting endangered piping plovers.

Teresa McGill

Seney Loons photo credit Teresa McGill
Seney Wildlife Refuge

Ken Rautiola

Seney Beaver photo credit Ken Rautiola


The refuge is a great place to watch wildlife and is a designated Important Bird Area for several species. Each year, visitors from around the world come to the refuge. The auto tour provides people of all ages and abilities an excellent opportunity to observe wildlife. You may choose to walk one of the nature trails. Hiking and biking are a great way to enjoy the back-country roads while searching for wildlife. If you are lucky, you may glimpse a black bear, river otter or gray wolf. During the winter, use cross-country skis or snowshoes to track wildlife.

The refuge's diversity of habitats provides homes for a wide array of life. As you explore look and listen. Many animals may be difficult to spot, but by watching for movement and signs, listening for sounds, driving or walking slowly and stopping frequently you can increase your viewing opportunities. The refuge provides habitat for a wide variety of life in multiple habitats. More than 200 species of birds, 26 species of fish, 50 species of mammals, 22 species of reptiles and amphibians and more than 420 plant species have been recorded on the refuge. What will you see when you visit?

The refuge is known for its abundance of trumpeter swans, common loons, bald eagles, osprey and sandhill cranes, which are commonly seen while driving the Marshland Wildlife Drive or walking the Pine Ridge Nature Trail. Other familiar favorites include American bitterns, rails and numerous warbler species.

Joel Dinda

Seney National Wildlife Refuge photo credit Joel Dinda


Seney National Wildlife Refuge has over 12 miles of trails located off the main campus, at the Show Pool Shelters and off of Robinson Road. All trails are open year round to nature enthusiasts, photographers, hikers and runners. In the winter the trails off of Robinson Road, the Northern Hardwoods Trail System is groomed for Nordic skiing. Snowshoers are welcome but we ask they not step in the ski tracks. We ask you leave your four legged friends home when the ski trails are groomed, the holes their paws make in the snow reduce skiing enjoyment.

Cross-country skiers are welcome to break their own trails anywhere on the refuge. However, if you prefer an easier glide, the Northern Hardwoods Cross-country Ski Area offers ten miles of groomed Nordic trails. Trails are groomed on Thursdays or Fridays as conditions allow. Turn west off M-77 onto Robinson Road three tenths of a mile south of the blinking light in Germfask. The trail head is at the end of the road. Brochures with maps are available, during the ski season, at the kiosk at the start of the trails or you can print your own copy.

Hiking and biking are wonderful ways to see the refuge. Unless otherwise stated, all refuge roads are open to bikers and hikers. The refuge manager may close some areas during peak bird migration, due to maintenance or management activities or safety concerns such as high winds, wildfire or prescribed burns. Check at the visitor center or watch the roads for closure signs. The Pine Ridge Nature Trail and the cross-country ski trails are not open to bicycles. Refuge staff members drive through the backcountry while conducting surveys so please be aware of the possibility of vehicles on the roads. To help you plan your visit, mileage is marked on the map in the general refuge brochure.

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