Seney National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 for the protection and production of migratory birds and other wildlife by Executive Order.
It is located in the east-central portion of US State of Michigan’s Upper peninsula, equidistant from Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.
Before establishment as a refuge, the forests of the Great Manistique Swamp (the area now encompassed by the Refuge) were exploited, beginning in the late 1800s.
Early timber cutting focused on the best stands of white pine, followed by the removal of red pine and northern hardwoods. As the sawtimber resource became depleted, efforts were shifted to the cutting of poles, posts, ties, and pulpwood. This gave way to slash fires fueled by logging debris, with most areas burned repeatedly.
By 1912, drainage of the Seney Swamp was underway under the auspices of agricultural land development. However, imperfect drainage of peat soils, poor soil fertility, and a short growing season made the farming ventures a disaster. Most lands were tax-reverted to the State of Michigan by the early 1930s.
The Refuge now encompasses 95,238 acres, of which 25,150 comprise the Seney Wilderness Area and the Strangmoor Bog National Natural Landmark. The mosaic of upland and wetland habitat types provides for a diversity of both migratory and non-migratory wildlife species.
Approximately twenty species of herptofauna, forty-eight species of mammals, twenty-six species of fish, and over two hundred speciesof birds have been recorded within the Refuge.
Water levels are controlled on over 6,400 acres of Refuge pools, with water levels manipulated so as to provide a variety of wetland conditions for plants and animals. By raising and lowering these water levels, a natural wetland cycle can be maintained.
The fire history at Seney is largely responsible for the diversity of trees, shrubs, and plant life present. Lightning-caused fires naturally occurred during dry years and created the present mix of community types.
Today, prescribed fire and natural fire use are used tomaintain the Refuge’s diversity.
See maps of the refuge.
We would like to thank Marianne Kronk of Seney National Wildlife Refuge and the website of the Refuge for information provided for this page.
(This page was updated in November 2012.)