The self-guided auto tour through the Munising Ranger District allows you to go back in time to the days of the Great Depression when folks were hungry and jobs were few. Young men looked to the newly created Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as an opportunity to earn money to help feed their families. In creating the CCC, President Franklin D. Roosevelt saw it as a way to put such men to work and, at the same time, revitalize the country's ravaged natural resources.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Fall color along a Hiawatha National Forest highway
It was natural that much of the CCC work centered on National Forests like the Hiawatha. The auto tour explores the former sites of camps, work projects, and plantations.
Begin the historical tour from the Munising Ranger District office, traveling east on M-28 / 94 to Forest Highway 13 and proceed to Stop #1.
Stop #1 is located on Forest Highway 13, 2.2 miles south of M-28 / 94. Now a Forest Service shortwave transmitter tower, the Wetmore Tower was built by CCC enrollees and was part of a continuously improving fire control and communication system on the Forest. Fires spotted from this tower were reported to headquarters and the information was related to the nearest CCC camp. Crews were on fire duty every day throughout the fire season.
Stop #2 is along Forest Road 2268, 0.7 mile southwest of Forest Highway 13. Camp Kentucky, in operation from May 4, 1933 into 1937, was base for the 666th Company. Projects completed by this camp include the Wetmore Lookout Tower (Stop #1) and Clear Lake Organizational Camp. Today, little remains of Camp Kentucky - just scattered foundations of a once-busy camp of more than 200 men. Evidence of structures across the road is that of the Kentucky Fire Guard Station and a repair shop of the Forest Service.
Stop #3 - Doe Lake Road, Forest Road 2268. One of many built by CCC crews, this scenic road winds through a variety of forest types and past beautiful lakes. Roads such as this, built to improve transportation to fires, also opened up the Forest for timber harvest, timber stand improvement and recreation.
Stop #4 - Fisheries Work, on Big Indian River, along Forest Road 2268, 2.5 miles west of the intersection with Forest Road 2254. Walk just a short distance along the Big Indian River and you will see stream improvement structures intended to improve trout habitat. Wildlife projects also were part of CCC work, including research on fur-bearing animals, deer and moose.
Stop #5 - Mile Corner, at the intersection of M-94 and Forest Road 2254. This monument commemorates the 1931 dedication of the West Unit of the Hiawatha National Forest, two years before the CCC program began. In 1981, the Forest celebrated the 50th anniversary of this dedication. The red pine plantation to the south of the monument was planted in 1935, one of the many plantations along this tour route planted by CCC enrollees. In 1979, this 11-acre stand was thinned as part of a timber sale, yielding 46 cords of pulpwood and 15 cords of saw timber.
Stop #6 - Camp Wyman, 0.7 mile east of M-94 on Forest Road 2264. Founded November 25, 1933, this camp was home to enrollees of Company 671. Training by Local Experienced Men in use of tools soon produced crews skilled in tree planting, timber stand improvement and firefighting. Enrollees also worked on fire hazard reduction, telephone line construction and forest inventory. Camp Wyman was among seven Upper Peninsula camps abandoned in January 1936. Little remains of the camp today, though some foundation holes are evident.
After Stop #6, M-94 can be followed back to Munising or west to U.S. Highway 41.
Six additional CCC sites were located on the Forest. Call 906-387-2512 for descriptions.
Directions from Munising District Office: Travel east on M-28 / 94 to Forest Highway 13 and proceed to Stop #1 - Westmore Lookout Tower. (After Stop #6, M-94 can be followed back to Munising or west to U.S. Highway 41.)