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Au Sable River Valley - Kirtland’s Warbler Habits

map The Jack Pine Wildlife Viewing Tour is a 58-mile auto tour loop featuring the federally endangered Kirtland's warbler and other wildlife found in the unique jack pine ecosystem. The tour follows well-maintained county and state roadways and is marked with special road signs designating the tour route. Tour brochures are available at the U.S. Forest Service office in Mio. Restrooms and picnic facilities are available at various interpretive stops along the route. The auto tour goes through a variety of habitats and offers a scenic drive through country where many species of wildlife can be observed. It was designed specifically as a wildlife viewing trail. It provides opportunities to see bald eagles, loons, river otters, beavers, bluebirds, herons, grouse, wild turkeys, and many others. The tour has twelve stops identified with a special logo sign. These sites each have an informative interpretive panel, and include scenic overlooks of the world famous Au Sable River, several of its tributary streams, a picture-postcard lake, and hiking trails. The tour route passes through Huron National Forest lands that are managed for the Kirtland's warbler. Several interpretive stops highlight the successful forest management techniques that are bringing this beautiful songbird back from the brink of extinction. There are many other songbirds that live in these public forest lands, and can be seen or heard at the Kirtland's warbler interpretive sites. Guided tours to see Kirtland's warblers and other wildlife of the jack pine ecosystem are available from mid-May through early July. These tours are popular, so reservations are recommended. The tours are led by the U.S. Forest Service in Mio and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Grayling (see phone numbers below). Kirtland's warbler nesting areas are closed to public entry during nesting season (May 1 to September 10) to protect these ground-nesting birds. Closed areas are posted with signs. Please do not enter posted areas on foot or drive off public roads. Directions: You can start at any point along the tour route, but it is recommended to start in Mio and head south on M-33 about 4 miles to Oscoda County Road 604 (Curtisville Road). From there, turn left (east) on Road 604 and follow the special logo signs. It is best, of course, to make sure you have the interpretive brochure with you which has a map of the tour route. Brochures can be obtained from the U.S. Forest Service, Mio Ranger District office, (989) 826-3252. The office is located on the east side of M-33 just north of downtown Mio.

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 Last update on Sunday, 01 January, 2017. Number of pages: 425

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