Harbor Island National Wildlife Refuge is in the Potagannissing Bay of Lake Huron, Michigan, just south of the Canadian border. The refuge’s biggest island, Harbor Island, has a large marsh-lined harbor popular with boaters. The islands have sandy beaches and mature stands of balsam fir, white cedar, paper birch, sugar maple and red oak. The gently rolling terrain of the island peaks around 100-feet above lake level. Resident wildlife species include ruffed grouse, snowshoe hare, white-throated sparrows, white-tailed deer, gray jays and magnolia warblers.

Visit Us

Northern water snake in Lake Huron by Mark Vaniman/USFWS.

Harbor Island National Wildlife Refuge offers people a chance to unplug and relax. Observe and photograph wildlife. Go hunting. Or grab a basket and come foraging for mushrooms and berries. 

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Maples by Sara Giles/USFWS.

      Harbor Island National Wildlife Refuge is in the Potagannissing Bay of Lake Huron, Michigan, just south of the Canadian border. The refuge’s biggest island, Harbor Island, has a large marsh-lined harbor popular with boaters. The islands have sandy beaches and mature stands of balsam fir, white cedar, paper birch, sugar maple and red oak. The gently rolling terrain of the island peaks around 100-feet above lake level. Resident wildlife species include ruffed grouse, snowshoe hare, white-throated sparrows, white-tailed deer, gray jays and magnolia warblers. 

      What We Do

      A leopard frog peers out of the water by Sara Giles/USFWS.

      Harbor Island National Wildlife Refuge is an island habitat. More than 120 species of birds, seven species of mammals, six species of reptiles and amphibians and more than 120 plant species have been recorded on the refuge. To maintain the diversity of life found on the refuge, we use a variety of techniques including allowing deer hunting, invasive species invasive species
      An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

      Learn more about invasive species
      management and research, inventory and monitoring. These tools allow us to preserve lands which are largely unaltered.  

      Our Species

      Male belted kingfisher on a branch courtesy of Teresa McGill.

      Harbor Island National Wildlife Refuge offers visitors a unique experience. These forested islands in Lake Huron offer visitors a chance to explore forest habitats largely unaltered by people. Leaf litter and moss spot the forest floor where you can find garter snakes pursuing toads and tiny spring peepers. Butterflies float on the breeze. Watch for belted kingfishers, bald eagles, northern flickers, common terns, winter wrens and a variety of warblers.