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Michigan dnr > wildlife viewing guide > northern lower peninsula > mitchell

42 Mitchell State Park Northern Lower Peninsula

Carl T. Johnson Hunting And Fishing Center And Heritage Fisheries And Wildlife Nature Study Area

wildlife viewing  |  directions and facility information

 wetlands scene walkway through woods  view of entrance sign
Photos: wetlands, Richard P. Torres, MIDNR; walkway and sign © Phil Seng


Photo: Larry Solce, MI DNR

Located directly behind the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center, this marshy, wetland habitat provides excellent wildlife viewing for nature lovers of all ages. A scenic 2-mile hiking trail encircles this marsh. The Marsh Trail has interpretive panels along its route that offer interesting facts about plants and animals and other natural features found here. An elevated observation platform overlooks the entire wetland area. A small fishing pier and a barrier free observation platform also improve the visual and physical access to this beautiful marsh. The marsh is nestled between Lakes Mitchell and Cadillac and is attractive to waterfowl and other waterbirds that use these larger aquatic systems.

Wildlife Viewing

view of water and plants
Photo: Richard P. Torres, MIDNR

There is a good probability of viewing mallards, wood ducks, black ducks, and Canada geese, especially during spring and fall migration, plus herons, bitterns, shorebirds, and other wetland-related bird species. Common songbirds that breed and raise their young in the wetland and adjacent habitats include the redwing blackbird, common yellowthroat, yellow warblers, song sparrows, and goldfinches. Birds of prey such as barred owls, red-tailed hawks, and occasionally osprey and bald eagles are observed here. Deer, beavers, muskrats, raccoons, and turtles are common throughout the area. Watch for painted turtles sunning themselves on rocks, logs, and lily pads in the canals along the marsh trail. Also note the variety of dragonfly species hovering over the canals. Campers at Mitchell State Park should venture across the canal to the Hunting and Fishing Center and the wetland wildlife viewing area. The barrier-free Center presents a fascinating and informative look at the history of hunting and fishing in Michigan. It has numerous fish and wildlife displays, and features interactive kiosks and multi-media presentations. Open throughout the year, the center hosts a variety of interpretive programs on wildlife and outdoor recreation themes. These include hands-on programs to help participants improve their fishing, fly tying, snowshoeing, and waterfowl identification skills as well as hunter education


At the junction of M-115 and M-55, travel northwest on M-115 for one quarter mile and look for the state park entrance just south of the canal bridge. The visitor center and entrance to the nature study area are just another tenth-of-a-mile north up M-115. Look for the sign on the right or east side of the road.

Ownership: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Mitchell State Park (231) 775-7911
Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center (231) 779-1321

Size: enclosed wetland is about 70 acres, nature study area 235 acres, state park 334 acres.

Closest Town: Cadillac

Weather and Driving Directions for Cadillac

Plan Your Trip with travel.michigan.org!

More information can be found by visiting the DNR's site (link leads to web app allowing users to search for campgrounds, harbors, trails and more), or by conducting a Google search:


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