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Silver City, Michigan

Silver City is located at the junction of M-64 and M-107 in Ontonagon County. It is the eastern gateway to the Porcupine Mountains.  Platted by Daniel Baser who mined the area for silver on August 24, 1875.  Silver City is a popular destination for fishing, hiking, hunting, skiing, and snowmobiling.

Attractions

Little Union Gorge Falls

Pewabeck Falls

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park [Wildlife Viewing Area] - Michigan Department  of Natural Resources, "Porkies" Park Headquarters,  Phone: (906) 885-5275. From Silver City, drive west on M-107 about 3.5  miles to the Visitor Center. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is located  at the western edge of Michigan's Upper Peninsula  along the south shore of Lake Superior. It encompasses  nearly 94 square miles of Ontonagon and Gogebic counties'  most rugged terrain. At the core of the park is a  48,808-acre dedicated Wilderness Area. One of  the park's most striking geologic features is an extended  basalt escarpment overlooking Lake of the Clouds and  the Big Carp River valley. Topographic relief in the Porcupine Mountains varies  from 601 feet at the surface of Lake Superior to almost  1958 feet at Summit Peak, the highest point in the  range. This area has short, cool summers, no dry season,  and long winters. Precipitation averages 32 to 36  inches annually and is quite evenly distributed throughout  the year. The area is noted for its snowfall, averaging  over 15 feet annually. Lake effect snow is common  and accounts for a significant portion of this accumulation.  The mountains were named by native Ojibwa people  for their distinctive "porcupine" profile  when viewed from the east. The Ojibwa occupied seasonal  villages within the mountains. Burial sites are recorded  for locations within park boundaries. Limited copper  mining and logging occurred within the mountains beginning  in 1845 and continued for about a century until the  area was purchased by the State of Michigan. Numerous  historical sites associated with these activities  are found within the park. The state park was established in 1945 to protect  the last extensive tract of uncut hardwood forest  remaining in the Midwest. In the words of the Michigan  Conservation Commission, "The primary objective  of the proposal [to set aside the Porcupine Mountains]  was not only to make available for public use the  highest range of hills between the Alleghenies and  the Black Hills, but to preserve forever, as a forest  museum, the last large stand of mixed hardwoods and  of hemlock still existing in Michigan." "The Porkies" is Michigan's largest state  park, and it is one of the Midwest's largest wilderness  areas. Noted for its hiking trails, scenic vistas,  wildlife, and striking geological formations, the  outstanding feature of the park remains the majestic  old-growth forests it was dedicated to preserve. Almost  35,000 acres of ancient forest sits more or less in  the center of the park. The Michigan Natural Features  Inventory considers this forested tract to be the  "biggest and best tract of virgin northern hardwoods  in North America."The principal forest type throughout the park is  a closed-canopy northern forest dominated by sugar  maple and eastern hemlock, with lesser amounts of  yellow birch, red maple, basswood, green ash, and  northern red oak. Bearberry, blueberry, juniper, and  dwarfed pine occur along cliffs and rock outcrops  in several areas of the park. Forests of white cedar,  tamarack, and black ash occupy the flood plains of  the Big and Little Carp rivers. The park offers a wide diversity of habitats in which  to view wildlife, including mature hemlock and hardwood  forests, open cliff tops, Lake Superior shoreline,  successional forests of aspen and birch, and a variety  of wetland types. Park naturalists believe that the  excellent birding and wildlife viewing in the Porkies  is a bit under-rated. Some of the better viewing opportunities occur for the following species: Birds (in season)  - bald eagle, merlin, barred owl, common raven, pileated  woodpecker, black-throated green warbler, northern  parula, blackburnian warbler, black-throated blue  warbler, Swainson's thrush, veery, hermit thrush,  broad-winged hawk, whip-poor-will, common nighthawk,  northern saw-whet owl, common merganser, wood duck,  great blue heron, and American bittern. Mammals - black bear, fisher, red squirrel, varying  hare, red fox, gray wolf, coyote, bobcat, porcupine,  striped skunk, and on occasion, moose. In the early  1990s, black bears were a significant problem for  park staff and visitors. In recent years, good progress  has been made in keeping the black bear population  wild. A combination of educational efforts, bear-proof  trash receptacles at trailheads, placement of "bear-poles"  at backcountry campsites, and other techniques have  been successful. Bears are still active and seen regularly  in the park. Visitors will need to continue to follow  regulations and guidelines regarding handling of food  and trash. But there are now fewer nuisance bear problems  and more truly wild bears. The advice of DO NOT FEED  THE BEARS still applies, of course! Other wildlife - The size, quality, and diversity of the park's forests makes them excellent places to see a wide variety of the smaller forms of wildlife, including yellow spotted salamanders, wood frogs, wood turtles, northern ring-necked snakes, red-bellied snakes, and a diversity of unusual insects like horn-tails, giant ichnueman wasps, dragonflies, stoneflies, and beetles. Flora - the park is an excellent spot to see and  study upper Michigan's native flora. The spring ephemeral  wildflower display in May is breathtaking. As summer  progresses, a wide variety of woodland wildflowers  can be seen, including coral-root orchids, rattlesnake  plantain orchids, and a host of other flowering plants.  Many species of ferns, clubmosses, lichens, and mosses  (including some rare species) are also abundant. The park is so vast and the opportunities so diverse  that your first stop should be the Visitors Center  to pick up maps, brochures, and other information  that will let you get the most out of your visit here.

Trap Falls

Unnamed Falls, on Pinkerton Creek, located within the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Dining Out

Paul's Restaurant, 120 Lincoln Ave., Silver City, MI 49953, Phone: (906) 885-5311

Lodging

A Beach Retreat, 32829 M64, Silver City, MI 49953, Phone: (906) 885-5055

A Cabin Up North, 2651 M-64, Silver City, MI 49953, Phone:  (906) 885-5481

A Cottage Up North, 34464 Highway M-107, Silver City, Michigan 49953, Phone: 906-885-5430

AmericInn of Silver City, 120 Lincoln Avenue, Silver City, MI 49953, Phone: (906) 885-5311

Lake Shore Cabins, 400 Lincoln Avenue, Silver City, MI 49953, Phone: (906) 885-5318

Michigan Bed & Breakfast Guide, 3980 Curtisville Road, South Branch, Michigan 48761, Phone: (989) 785-0600

Mountain View Lodges, 34042 State Hwy M107, Silver City, Ontonagon, MI 49953, Phone:  (906) 885-5256

Northern Michigan Cabin & Cottage Rentals, 3980 Curtisville Road, South Branch, Michigan 48761, Phone: (989) 785-0600

Rainbow Lodging, 32739 W. State Highway M-64, Silver City, MI 49953, Phone: (800) 939-5348

Rocky Shores Vacation Home, 237 M-107, Silver City, MI 49953, Phone: (906) 885-5412

Shady Hill Cabins, 501 Lincoln Avenue, Silver City, MI 49953, Phone: (906) 885-5318

Silver Sands Motor Lodge, 482 Hwy M-107, Silver City, Michigan 49963, Phone: (906) 885-5748

Sunshine Motel, Cabins & Campground, 1442 M-64, Ontonagon, Michigan 49953, Phone: (906) 884-2187

Tell Them You Found Then in Upper Peninsula Online

Organizations

Michigan Retiree Activities Office (RAO) (Military Retirees) , 5671 Skeel Ave., P. O. Box 438, Oscoda, Michigan 48750, Phone:  (989) 739-2777

Outdoors

Golfing Michigan, 3980 Curtisville Road, South Branch, Michigan 48761, Phone: (989) 785-0600

Michigan Paddlesports Directory, 3980 Curtisville Road, South Branch, Michigan 48761, Phone: (989) 785-0600

Porcupine Mountains Ski Resort, Porcupine Mountains State Park, M-107, Silver City, MI 49953, Phone: (906) 289-4105

Porcupine Mountains State Park (Porkies), 412 S. Boundary Road, Ontonagon, MI 49953, Phone: (906) 885-5275

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Last updated Monday, August 15, 2011
Number of pages 312