We thought we would highlight an area a bit closer to Lansing with this month’s #stategamesaturday. If you have ever taken U.S. 127 North to get to the northern Lower Peninsula, or to the Upper Peninsula, you’ve probably seen part of the Maple River State Game Area. Roughly 27 miles north of Lansing, the Maple River State Game Area encompasses 9,578 acres of land that crosses into Gratiot, Clinton, and Ionia counties. Being so easily accessible, it is a well known area for many forms of recreation, including hunting, trapping, hiking, and bird watching.
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the long-term goal for the Maple River State Game Area is to “improve the quality of habitat for numerous wildlife species while improving waterfowl and pheasant hunting opportunities for mid-Michigan hunters”. Similar to the Barry State Game Area, Maple River also qualifies for a Master Plan to outline goals of the area and what actions will be taken to achieve those goals. This master plan divides the area into two units that are managed for different species. The west (main) unit is largely forested with management focused on white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, wood ducks, cotton-tail rabbits, and squirrels.
Management of the east unit focuses on species such as waterfowl and pheasants; between the two units, the east unit has a far higher percentage of wetland and open grassland habitats, ideal for managing locally abundant waterfowl and ring-necked pheasant populations. The east unit has been divided into subsequent smaller units to be more easily managed (units A, B, C, D, E, X, and Y). In fact, major repairs and construction was done in to improve water control structures in the east unit from 2010-2013, including the installation of several new pump stations, and the repair and construction of several dikes and spillways.
Maple River State Game area also has accommodations for those with limited mobility. A PAMD/wheelchair accessible trail is in main unit at north end (section 33) starting in parking off Jerome Rd. There is also a barrier-free accessible trail and hunting/photography blind are in the East Unit, along the north side of Unit B. These are open for use by anyone, but please give consideration to those who need them.
This State Game Area is overseen by the Rose Lake State Wildlife Area office at 8903 E. Stoll Road, East Lansing, MI 48823; phone (517) 641- 4092.
To view the master plan for this area, please visit:
To view a larger map of the Maple River State Game Area, please visit: