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McCormick Wilderness

General Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws
Photograph taken in  the McCormick Wilderness


The United States Congress designated the McCormick Wilderness (map) in 1987 and it now has a total of 16,925 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Michigan and is managed by the Forest Service.


Three generations of McCormick's, the descendants of Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the reaping machine, held the deed to this area before Gordon McCormick willed the land to the U.S. Forest Service. McCormick Wilderness has recovered from the logging era that ended in the early 1900s. Today, you'll find a mixture of northern hardwoods and lowland conifers interspersed with small patches of towering white pine, Michigan's state tree. Moose have been reintroduced here and are relatively common sights by Michigan standards. Other forest dwellers include black bears, pine martens, otters, minks, foxes, deer, squirrels, and hares. Bird-watchers enjoy loons and woodpeckers as well as thriving populations of many other feathered species. Straddling the divide between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, a region ranging from nearly level terrain to rocky cliffs. McCormick's water is what draws most visitors, with the Huron, Dead, Peshekee, and the Wild and Scenic Yellow Dog Rivers all have part of their headwaters within the wilderness. Many cascading waterfalls on the Yellow Dog make it unnavigable. The Yellow Dog is one of few Eastern rivers designated "Wild." Eighteen small lakes add sparkle to the landscape. Trout, pike, and bass live here, but only in small numbers due to the less-than-fertile waters. The three-mile White Deer Lake Trail connects County Road 607 to White Deer Lake where the McCormick estate once stood. Remnants of old, unmaintained trails can sometimes be found, but the rest of the Wilderness is fairly rugged, isolated, unspoiled, and relatively difficult to access.

Planning to Visit the McCormick 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 McCormick 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.

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