Are you using a screen reader? Click here to view the navigation links for this site as a bulleted list.

Partner logos: BLM, FWS, FS, NPS, University of Montana Logo
Connecting federal employees, scientists, educators, and the public with their wilderness heritage
Text size: A | A | A  [Print]

Michigan Islands Wilderness

General Location Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Trip Planning Images
A Herring Gull chick sits in a nest of green foliage and little yellow flowers. This chick is grey and spotted with black dots.
Library image #2520: Herring Gull chick


The United States Congress designated the Michigan Islands Wilderness (map) in 1970 and it now has a total of 12 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Michigan and is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service.


Eight small islands in Lakes Huron and Michigan were established as Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge in 1943, and three of these islands have been designated Wilderness: Pismire, Scarecrow, and Shoe. At seven acres, Scarecrow Island is the largest of the three Wilderness isles, which together form one of the smallest units of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Large submerged limestone shoals located offshore protect a shoreline of rock and cobble. Several colonial bird species - great blue heron, black-crowned night-heron, herring gull, ring-billed gull, great black-backed gull, common tern, Caspian tern, and double-crested cormorant - nest on these islands in substantial numbers. Standing dead green ash trees are the main vegetation, with a lush understory of common elderberry, scattered red-osier dogwood, and an abundance of "weedy" plants. The death of the ash has been blamed on the extensive use by cormorants. In order to protect nesting birds, public visitation is prohibited.

Planning to Visit the Michigan Islands Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Michigan Islands Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.

Give us your feedback