Sylvania Wilderness
wooden wilderness sign on shoreline

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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 do apply.

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.

Park facts:

Total acreage: 18,327 acres
Square miles: 30
Lakes: 36
Campsites: 84
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
Black bear
Trophy smallmouth bass fishing
Designated wilderness: 18,000 acres







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National Park, the Boundary
Waters Canoe Area, the
Sylvania Wilderness and
Porcupine Mountains State
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Road Entry points to the
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