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Plan Your Visit

Looking out over the Detroit River


Directions, Address & Contact Info

The Refuge office is located on Grosse Ile, the largest island in the Detroit River. It is housed in the Large Lakes Research Station at 9311 Groh Road, Grosse Ile, MI 48138. The office is open Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., phone: 734-365-0219.

Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
Large Lakes Research Station
9311 Groh Road
Grosse Ile, Michigan 48138
Phone: 734-365-0219; Fax: 734-692-7603

View the Detroit River IWR Staff Directory  

Canadian Refuge Contact:
John Marsden, Manager
Environment Canada, Great Lakes Issue Management and Reporting Section 
4905 Dufferin Street 
Toronto, Ontario M3H 5T4 Canada
Phone: 416-739-4759; Fax: 416-739-4241 


The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is located along the lower Detroit River and western shoreline of Lake Erie, just 20 miles south of Detroit and 50 miles north of Toledo, Ohio in Wayne and Monroe counties. At this time, because of current staff limitations, the refuge is not open to the public on a daily basis; however, limited public use opportunities are available. Special events, open houses and education programs are offered throughout the year and are based on availability. For more information regarding Refuge programs and open houses, visit the Refuge Friends Group website and view the events calendar or contact the refuge directly.

Refuge Friends Group - IWRA: 
Joann Van Aken, Executive Director
International Wildlife Refuge Alliance 
Large Lakes Research Station 
9311 Groh Road
Grosse Ile, Michigan 48138
Phone: 734-692-7671; Fax: 734-692-7603 


Points of Interest

Humbug Marsh consists of 410 acres of coastal wetlands and represents the last mile of undeveloped shoreline along the U.S. mainland of the Detroit River. The site is home to 154 species of birds, 51 species of fish, 90 species of plants, 7 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 37 species of dragonflies and damselflies. In 2010, the Marsh was designated as Michigan’s only “Wetland of International Importance” by the 1971 Ramsar Convention.

The Humbug Marsh unit of the refuge is the hub of visitor activity. Adjacent to the Marsh is the Refuge Gateway property, a former industrial manufacturing site that is being remediated and restored as an ecological buffer for the Marsh, and the future home of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.

Know Before You Go

Visitor parking at Humbug Marsh Unit is available on the Refuge Gateway property, located on the east side of West Jefferson Avenue between the intersections of Van Horn Rd. and Vreeland Rd., in Trenton, Michigan, at 5437 West Jefferson Avenue, 48183. The property is enclosed by a chain link fence and is situated directly south of a Solutia plant. A large Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge sign is located in front of the fence. Cars may park inside the property ‐ simply turn in the gate and follow the gravel road to the designated parking area.

Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge enforces a “pack it in, pack it out” policy for its visitors, requiring that all garbage and waste products brought onto the refuge be removed upon departure. Waste receptacles are not available on site.

A single, handicap accessible portalet is available for use at the visitor parking area and is the only facility located at the Humbug Marsh unit. Large groups visiting the refuge are encouraged to plan accordingly.

Please dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear for your scheduled activities and plan ahead to protect your skin from the elements. Sunscreen and insect repellent are strongly recommended.

Last Updated: Feb 04, 2013
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