By Jayne Roohr, Michigan DNR & Mike McCarthy, Chippewa Luce Mackinac Conservation District
It is no secret that Michigan is home to many natural wonders and diverse bird species, making it a location that bird-viewers, also known as birders, flock to. Across the state, various groups are working to establish birding trails in many communities. These trails are self-guided driving routes that direct visitors to designated locations that offer unique and exciting bird viewing opportunities and may also highlight natural and cultural features of the local communities that the trail goes through.
Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula now boasts three large birding trails, with the newest addition being the Shore to Shore Birding Trail.
Bordered on the west by the Superior Birding Trail, and the North Huron Birding Trail to the east, the Shore to Shore Birding Trail is nested within the shores of three Great Lakes and features unique habitats and birds of Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula.
This trail covers more than 400 miles of roads along coastlines and further inland, travelling through areas such as St. Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, Sugar Island, Bay Mills, Whitefish Point, Newberry, Seney, Engadine, Naubinway, Trout Lake, Epoufette and Brevort with over 40 designated sites of interest for birders to explore.
The Shore to Shore Birding Trail will celebrate its grand opening with a kick-off event August 19 and 20 at the Paradise Area Chamber of Commerce building, which coincides with the Paradise Wild Blueberry Festival.
The Chippewa Luce Mackinac Conservation District along with its partners, the Michigan DNR 7 the Seney National Wildlife Refuge will host an information booth for the public to learn about the new Shore to Shore Birding Trail, share local bird-viewing opportunities and resources, and will also have many prizes that visitors can win by visiting the booth.
Additionally, the Seney National Wildlife Refuge will be providing free birding tours at Whitefish Point on August 19 and 20. These tours include free transportation on the refuge bus from the Paradise Area Chamber of Commerce building to Whitefish Point and back. The bus will depart from Paradise each day at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Space is limited, so be sure to call the Chippewa Luce Mackinac Conservation District to reserve your spot at 906-635-1278, or visit our booth to sign up.
The Shore to Shore Birding Trail was made possible through years of planning efforts by partners such as the Chippewa Luce Mackinac Conservation District, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Seney National Wildlife Refuge, Hiawatha National Forest, Bay Mills Indian Community, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Michigan Sea Grant, Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning and Development Commission, area birding experts, local communities, and the land-managers of the designated sites along the trail. Funding secured through the USDA Forest Service Rural Area Schools Self Determination Act of 2000 (RAC) grant allowed for a website, a printable brochure/map, interpretive signs, and the grand opening event.
Visit the Shore to Shore Birding Trail to see unique birds found in the area, experience the awe-inspiring wonder of the region, and to enjoy local hospitality and culture as you visit different natural features and wild spaces that are featured along the trail.
Visit shoretoshorebirdingtrail.org for information on how to plan your trip and what amenities are available. On the website you will find an interactive web-map with pictures of each location and convenient details to assist in trip planning. Each destination along the route has details related to access, directions, bird species and other cultural or natural features of interest.
From shore to shore, welcome to your next birding adventure. We hope to see you at our grand opening event!