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Michigan dnr > wildlife viewing guide > southern lower peninsula > haymarsh

75 Haymarsh Lake State Game AreaSouthern Lower Peninsula

wildlife viewing  |  directions and facility information

Osprey at nest
The osprey or fish hawk eats nothing but fish, which it catches
by plunging feet-first into shallow water.
Photo: David Kenyon, MI DNR

A mixture of streams, ponds, small lakes, and wildlife floodings dot this forested area of cut-over aspen, maple, and oak. This area is primitive with few amenities. Many of the access roads are unimproved and there is only one primitive restroom.

A small campground offering 19 sites with pit toilets and hand pumps is run by Mecosta County and is located on 140th Avenue. There are numerous trails that dissect this area, but they are not marked. Feel free to hike any trails you find, but donít forget to bring a compass. There are 56 acres in six plots have been seeded for several years with warm season grasses. Two plots are identified with signs.

Wildlife Viewing

Excellent probability of viewing songbirds throughout the year. Haymarsh probably offers the best opportunities for viewing nesting songbirds in Mecosta County. Look for nests of golden-winged and mourning warblers in May and June. Areas of overmature aspen forest provide good habitat for red-bellied woodpeckers and the large, crow-sized, pileated woodpeckers. Bald eagles and loons are seen here occasionally, and ospreys (also known as fish hawks) usually nest here in spring. September and October bring large flights of migrating Canada geese and wood ducks to the shallow water floodings of the area.

This area is open to public hunting. Contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for hunting seasons and regulations.

CAUTION: Unimproved roads may have large pot-holes or washout areas.


From Big Rapids, take M-20 east to 165th Avenue. Turn left (north) onto 17 Mile Road. You will enter the property boundary after about 2 miles. The bulk of the area is bounded by 18 Mile Road on the south and by 21 Mile Road on the north (see map inset). Contact the Department of Natural Resources for a detailed property map.

Ownership: Michigan Department of Natural Resources (231) 832-5520

Size: 5,780 acres

Closest Town: Big Rapids

Weather and Driving Directions for Big Rapids

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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