Michigan has 16 nationally designated Wild & Scenic Rivers. The Wild & Scenic Rivers Act of October 2, 1968 provided for federally designated rivers that “possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values.” A 26 mile section of the Manistee River was added in 1992 from the Michigan DNR boat ramp below Tippy Dam to the Michigan State Highway 55 Bridge. On the Manistee’s page at the Wild & Scenic River website they say:
The Manistee Wild and Scenic River is well known for beautiful scenery, excellent fishing and a variety of recreational activities. In the spring and fall, high numbers of anglers are attracted to the superb salmon and steelhead runs. During the summer, walleye and pike fishing become the primary recreational activity. The river supports a variety of other recreational uses including wildlife viewing, hiking, canoeing and hunting.
Private businesses and government agencies have developed a variety of facilities and services to meet the expanding recreation demands of the public. Commercial guided fishing is one of the most popular activities on the Manistee River. The amount of recreational use fluctuates from year to year, mostly based on the fishing runs and local economic factors. There are eight developed river access sites within the wild and scenic river corridor. The Forest Service maintains sites at High Bridge, Bear Creek, Rainbow Bend and Blacksmith Bayou. The state of Michigan operates a river access site at Tippy Dam. Private recreation sites include Big Manistee Riverview Campground and Coho Bend Campground. The Forest Service developed recreation sites along the Manistee River require a vehicle parking pass under the Recreation Enhancement Act.