22 Menominee River/Piers Gorge
wildlife viewing |
directions and facility information
Photo: We Energies
The Menominee River is a border river separating
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin. It is formed
by the confluence of the Brule and Michigamme Rivers.
The 100-mile stretch of the Menominee River from above
Iron Mountain to Menominee provides a beautiful setting
for wildlife watching. It is best experienced by canoe
or kayak. There are over 100 tributaries that enter
the Menominee River in this 100-mile stretch. The
shoreline and river corridor is very wild and scenic
with multiple ownerships including private, corporate,
and state and county governments. Large blocks of
the shoreline and adjacent uplands are owned by We
Energies and timber companies such as International
Paper, plus the Michigan and the Wisconsin Departments
of Natural Resources, and county governments in Wisconsin.
Numerous campgrounds and boat access points along
the river cater to wildlife watchers with canoes.
There are nine hydroelectric power dams and reservoirs
on the river; each has a portage for small boats.
Photo: We Energies
We Energies (Wisconsin Electric) owns 40,000 acres
in the river corridor and is the largest recreational
developer. We Energies has an extensive “Wilderness
Shores” recreation program with many recreation areas
with boat launching sites and wilderness campground
facilities. They have produced a series of six detailed
river maps highlighting these areas and natural features
in the Menominee River watershed. These maps are available
from area outfitters. One of the most scenic and popular
natural attractions in the river corridor is Piers
Gorge. It contains some of the fastest-moving water
in Michigan and Wisconsin. It is not navigable for
general canoeing (class IV to V white water), but
still offers beautiful scenery and good wildlife viewing
from shore. It has become one of the more popular
destinations for expert class kayakers in the eastern
U.S. An undeveloped foot trail parallels the gorge
for ½ to 3/4 of a mile.
This beautiful Menominee River corridor offers excellent
bald eagle viewing opportunities. Eagles are commonly
seen all along the river, roosting in tall trees,
fishing in the shallow water, or soaring high overhead.
This stretch of river also boasts several eagle nests
in tall trees right along the shoreline. (Do not disturb
or harass nesting eagles). In addition to the eagles,
ospreys, common loons, and waterfowl are frequent
sightings on this exciting float. Piers Gorge is a
very scenic, fast-moving stretch of the river near
Norway, Michigan, and shoreline trails offer good
viewing opportunities for eagles, osprey, and waterfowl.
We Energies and International Paper own the shoreline
at Piers Gorge and they encourage public use. We Energies’
canoe trail brochures and their Wilderness Shores
pamphlets offer excellent, detailed maps for locating
entry points by motor vehicle.
The river currents at piers gorge are very
strong. Do not wade or swim. Keep small children
and pets away from the water.