Hiawatha National Forest
The Squaw Creek old-growth area is composed of approximately 64 acres and is of special significance because old tree stands of this type are nearly nonexistent in this area. Most other old-growth stands are in backcountry where accessibility is difficult for the general public.
A leisurely hour-long walk through this old-growth stand of trees will take you back to what much of the northwoods forests were like about 100 years ago. It will give you a better understanding of the value of true big tree characteristics in a forest environment. Natural reproduction is easily visible. Preservation of this unique area in its natural state is the goal of the Hiawatha National Forest. The land was acquired by the Michael Fitzpatrick family in 1884. Additional land was purchased in 1901. In 1938, residents of the area, as well as the Escanaba Kiwanis and the Escanaba Daily Press, actively campaigned to have the site preserved in its natural state and save it from the timberman's axe. The USDA Forest Service began managing the property in 1940.
In nature's time-honored fashion, old trees have fallen, letting in sunlight and allowing for new growth of seedlings and saplings. The fallen trees are not removed but allowed to decay, giving nutrients to the soil, as well as homes for varieties of birds and many small animals.
Some of the mammals and birds dependent upon stands of old growth are pine marten, red squirrel, mink, raccoon, bald eagle, pileated woodpecker, and the black-throated green warbler.
The stand is split by Squaw Creek. In the section north of Squaw Creek the primary trees are red and white pine, northern red oak, and white birch. The southern portion is mostly eastern hemlock, and red and white pine.
This natural area of old-growth trees is located approximately 12 miles from U.S. 2 on County Road 513, with the road entrance north of the Squaw Creek Bridge. Although there is no off-road parking lot, there is space to leave your car along the woods roads.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication