Eight small islands, totaling 147 acres, make up the Huron National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is located just three miles off the south shore of Lake Superior in Marquette County, Michigan. The refuge was established in 1905 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife, especially the herring gull, which had large nesting colonies on the islands. These early bird sanctuaries were vital for several species of birds, including the herring gull, whose populations had been drastically reduced by plume hunters and egg collectors in the 1800s and early 1900s. All islands are closed to the public except for Lighthouse Island.

Visit Us

Herring gulls roosting on elegant sunburst lichen covered rocks by Sara Giles/USFWS.

Weather you enjoy history, nature or solitude, a trip to Huron National Wildlife Refuge will float your boat. The only island open to the public is Lighthouse Island and the only access to the island is by boat. Once you arrive, the adventure begins. Visitors are treated to a historical lighthouse and the associated buildings, breathtaking views and interesting plants and wildlife. Leave no trace practices are required. 

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

       

      The lighthouse constructed in 1868 out of granite quarried on the island is still active, its light automated in 1972 by Jeremy Maslowski/USFWS.

      Huron National Wildlife Refuge unique.

      1. The granite outcropping that makes up the islands is over a billion years old.
      2. The islands themselves are relatively young dating from the withdrawal of the most recent glaciers 8,000 to 10,000 years ago.
      3. The islands are part of the territory ceded by the Chippewa Indians in the La Pointe Treaty of 1842.
      4. The islands are part of the ancestral homelands of various indigenous groups. Since the glaciers receded the islands have been part of the traditional lifeways of native communities including the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.
      5. It is the oldest refuge in the Great Lakes Region.
      6. The entire refuge is part of the Huron Islands Wilderness.
      7. Lighthouse Island has many historic light station structures including the lighthouse which is on the National Register of Historic Places. 
      8. The privy, oil house, assistant keeper's quarters, fog signal building, boathouse, tramway, turntable, and pathway are eligible for listing on the National Register of historic places.

       

      Our Species

      A well camouflaged jumping spider on a lichen covered rock by Alaina Larkin/USFWS.

      Nature enthusiasts will enjoy a trip to Huron National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is home to 79 species of birds, 8 species of mammals, 6 species of reptiles and amphibians, 157 species of plants, a numerous species of spiders, insects, lichen and fungi.

      Snowshoe Hare
      Varying Hare

      Our Library

      Our library contains research papers, historical documents, plans, reports and other important papers pertaining to the Huron National Wildlife Refuge and Huron Islands Wilderness.

      Cover of the Seney and Harbor Island Wilderness Plan

      The 1978 wilderness management plan for the Seney and Harbor Islands Wilderness Areas.