The Sylvania Wilderness is a bedazzling jewel of 18,000 acres
nestled inside Michigan's Ottawa National Forest. The wilderness
is long famous for its quiet water based recreation as well as
the intact old growth forest which is rare for the northwoods.
To see forests as old in the northwoods, you would need to visit
the interior of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park or portions
of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The Sylvania Wilderness
was actually private property for many years before it was purchased
by the United States Forest Service in 1967. In 1987, it was designated
as a federal wilderness area, preserving it forever.
The Sylvania Wilderness offers a high level northwoods camping
and canoeing experience thanks to the wilderness characteristics
of the area. This is a fragile ecosystem and there are special
regulations in place to protect the resource. A pack it in, pack
it out camping ethic is in force for the area.
Sylvania is also home to black bears, so common sense bear precautions
Areas like this are getting increasingly difficult to find in
the Midwest. Fortunately the Sylvania exists for current and future
generations to enjoy a family camping trip in the real northwoods.
Total acreage: 18,327 acres
Square miles: 30
Many lakes at 1700 feet or higher
Unusually large tract of midwest old growth
Tree species include yellow birch, eastern hemlock, sugar maple,
white pine, red pine, white spruce and balsam fir.
Drive-in Campgrounds: 1
Boat Access: 3 (Clark Lake, Crooked Lake)
Picnic areas: 1
Hiking trail/portage miles: 25
Trophy smallmouth bass fishing
Designated wilderness: 18,000 acres