U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Wildlife Refuge

bohemian waxwing perched in shrub branches, with blue sky behind
1674 Refuge Entrance Rd.
Seney, MI   49883
E-mail: seney@fws.gov
Phone Number: 906-586-9851
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Bohemian waxwings can seen at the refuge during the winter months.
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Over a century ago, lumbering operations altered the landscape of the Upper Peninsula. The ring of the lumberman's axe echoed through the forests as local mills depleted the region's valuable supply of red and white pine. After the pine forests were cut, mill owners turned their axes and saws to the northern hardwood and swamp conifer communities.

Following the lumbering operations, fires were often set to clear away the debris. These fires burned deep into the rich organic soil, damaging its quality and killing the seeds that would have produced a new forest. On many areas of the refuge, the scars from these lumbering operations remain visible to this day.

After the fires, a land development company dug many miles of drainage ditches throughout Seney. This drained acreage was then sold using extravagant promises of agricultural productivity. The new owners quickly learned that these promises were unfounded. One by one, the farms were abandoned, and the exploited lands reverted to state ownership. In 1934, the Michigan Conservation Department recommended to the Federal Government that the Seney area be protected for wildlife. This proposal was accepted and, Seney National Wildlife Refuge became a reality.

Physical development and restoration of the refuge land began soon after establishment. With the aid of the Civilian Conservation Corps, an intricate system of dikes, water control structures, ditches, and roads was built. These are still in use today.

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