Seney National Wildlife Refuge

Seney, MI

Seney, MI, photo by lilrhgerl.

lilrhgerl took this Holga photo – do yourself a favor and check out her Holga slideshow. She writes that Seney is the most amazing place, and anyone who has spent time there would probably agree.

The Seney National Wildlife Refuge encompasses nearly 100,000 acres in the central Upper Peninsula. Seney was established in 1935 for the protection and production of migratory birds and other wildlife. It supports a variety of wildlife including a profusion of birds: bald eagles, common loons, trumpeter swans, Canada geese, hooded mergansers, mallards, black ducks, ring-necked ducks, wood ducks and sandhill cranes. Animals include black bear, white-tailed deer, coyote, river otter and beaver. There’s also black flies, deer flies, and mosquitoes during warmer months.

The wetlands, which are also known as the Great Manistique Swamp provide a great haven for all these animals and birds have their roots when:

…Over a century ago, lumbering operations altered the landscape of the Upper Peninsula’s great forests. The ring of the lumberman’s axe echoed through the forests as local mills depleted the region’s valuable supply of red and white pine. After the pine forests were cut, mill owners turned their axes and saws to the Refuge’s northern hardwood and swamp conifer communities.Following the lumbering operations, fires were often set to clear away the debris. These fires burned deep into the rich organic soil, damaging its quality and killing the seeds that would have produced a new forest. On many areas of the Refuge, the scars from these lumbering operations remain visible to this day.

After the fires, a land development company dug many miles of drainage ditches throughout Seney. This drained acreage was then sold using extravagant promises of agricultural productivity. But the new owners quickly learned that these promises were unfounded. One by one, the farms were abandoned, and the exploited lands reverted to state ownership.

In 1934, the Michigan Conservation Department recommended to the Federal Government that the Seney area be developed for wildlife. This proposal was accepted and Seney National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935.

Check out Seney National Wildlife Refuge on the Absolute Michigan map and click for the Seney slideshow from the Absolute Michigan pool!

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