|Average Snowfall:||70 - 100 inches||Fall Color Season:||Late September - Early October|
Camp Grayling (state-owned military reservation)
The endangered Kirtland's Warbler is Michigan's rarest bird. Warbler nesting grounds are found primarily in the many acres of Jack Pine forests around the Grayling Area and are off limits during the nesting season, except in guided tours. The female Warbler builds her nest of leaves and grass below 5-20 foot tall Jack Pines in the midst of dense undergrowth. Four to five cream-white or pink-white eggs with brown spots are laid in the nest in May or June. Sometimes Warblers will start new nests after the first eggs have hatched. In the fall Kirtland's Warblers migrate to the Bahamas. The Warbler's extinction is being caused primarily by loss of its very selective habitat. Managed timber harvest, tree plants, and controlled burning have helped double the number of Kirtland's Warblers from 1961 to now.
To get more information on the Kirtland's Warbler visit the Department of Natural Resources Kirtland's Warbler Site.
Wellington Farm Park is a working replica of a typical Mid-American farmstead during the 1930's as the nation found itself in the grips of the Great Depression. Many farming activities are conducted daily, making use of vintage equipment, tools, and practices. The park has many unique buildings including a sawmill, blacksmith shop, grist mill, summer kitchen, farm market, and pavillion. In addition there is a nature trail just waiting to be explored. Wellington's annual tractor and engine show is held in late summer. Celebrate the harvest season with the area farmers. Tractors, engines, thrashers, sawmill, gristmill, blacksmith - are all in full operation
With 70 percent of its' property owned by the state and federal government and open to the public, Crawford County is a hunter's dream. Various types of terrain yield trophy sized bucks, snowshoe hares, squirrels, turkey, grouse, woodcock and waterfowl. There is an abundance of upland forest types including Oak, Aspen, Maple and Jack Pine. There are many swamps in the area which contain Cedar browse for deer.
Rifle, archery, and muzzleloading seasons are held. Youth hunts and antlerless deer permits are also available.
For those who are interested in hunting the animals, it is advisable to check local sport shops to obtain information on where to go. Turkeys are also plentiful in the county and can be found in upland areas as well as valleys where many seed bearing trees are available. Bird hunters will find Ruffed Grouse (Partridge) plentiful. They are often found in Aspen stands and along swamp edges. Woodcock are also available in many areas. Black, Gray, Fox, and Red Squirrels can also be found in plentiful supply here. Although they can be found virtually anywhere, the greatest success can be found near mature Oaks where there is ample nesting cover. Snowshoe Hare as well as Cottontail Rabbits can be found in the county although many more Snowshoes than Cottontails are available. A dog is recommended in the thick swampy areas where the snowshoes are likely to be found. It is possible to take the animals without a dog by patiently stalking.
Not only is snowmobiling welcomed, but the cities of Crawford County have been designed for you to get around town in your snowmobilie. With the hundreds of miles of state land available there are plenty of lodging accomodations that allow you to snowmobile right outside your door.
The Ausable Valley Snowmobile Association is composed of volunteers working to promote safe snowmobiling in the Grayling area. Membership is composed of both local residents and others who travel to the Grayling area to ride on the hundreds of miles of local trails.
The headwaters and mainstream of the AuSable River flow within easy driving distance of Grayling. For that matter the mainstream itself flows through the city although to see the most scenic aspects it is advisable to obtain a county map and cross it further downstream. Perhaps the best way to see the true wilderness is to use a canoe and paddle silently down the stream.
Hartwick Pines State Park will again be offering special evening ski events where skiers will have a chance to enjoy one of the park's groomed ski trails by lantern light. The ski nights will be from 6pm to 9pm on the Saturday evenings of January 28, February 11 and February 25. Over 75 lanterns will be lit along the 1.25 mile, groomed cross-country ski trail. The Michigan Forest Visitor Center will be open and visitors are welcomed to "thaw out" (or cool down) in our warming room where hot beverages (cider, tea, coffee and hot cocoa) and snacks will be offered. There is no charge to participate in these evening ski events however a daily motor vehicle permit is required to enter the park. If you cannot make it to these evening events, please come visit us during the day and enjoy skiing on over 15 miles of groomed cross country ski trails. Other events at Hartwick Pines this winter include guided snowshoe hikes on selected Saturdays in January, February and March. For further information and for current ski and snow conditions, please contact the Michigan Forest Visitor Center at (989) 348-2537.
More about the Hartwick Pines State Park - With an area of 9,672 acres, Hartwick Pines is the largest state park in the Lower Peninsula. The park's rolling hills, which are built of ancient glacial deposit, overlook the valley of the East Branch of the AuSable River, four small lakes and unique timber lands. The principal feature of this park is the 49-acre forest of Old Growth Pines which gives the park its name. This forest is a reminder of Michigan's past importance in the pine lumber industry as well as a source of inspiration for the future of our forests. The park is rich in scenic beauty and because of the different habitats it encompasses, there is ample subject matter for the sports person, photographer, or naturalist throughout the year.
In general, public lands are open to biking. Any designated snowmobile trails are open to riding, with the exception of the ORV trail West of Grayling on M-72.
Beaver Creek Township, Frederic Township, Grayling, Lovells Township, Maple Forest Township, South Branch Township