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DNR Partners with Schoolcraft County to Improve Wildlife Area

This spring and summer, Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife division staffers are improving the Rainey Memorial Wildlife Area in Schoolcraft County, with the help of county community corrections workers.

The 100-acre wildlife area is situated about 7 miles northwest of Manistique, off Wawaushnosh Drive in Hiawatha Township. The site has a walking trail and elevated observation platform offering great opportunities for watching eagles, trumpeter swans, a variety of migrating songbirds, ducks and other wildlife.Recent improvements at the Rainey Memorial Wildlife Area in Schoolcraft County include covering a trail with cedar chips and reworking landscaping.

Recently, the 93rd District Court Community Corrections Program of Schoolcraft County helped DNR wildlife division workers place cedar wood chips and mulch along the 800-foot-long pathway, and picked up garbage throughout the area.

The District Court includes Schoolcraft and Alger counties and Judge Mark Luoma presides over court cases from those two jurisdictions.

Magistrate David Maddox said the court is pleased to assist the DNR with this type of project. Community corrections workers are expected to continue to help the DNR throughout the summer at the site.

“Judge Luoma continues to value the role that community service plays in the judicial process, and projects like this highlight that commitment,” Maddox said. “We look forward to collaborating with the DNR on similar projects in the future.”

DNR wildlife biologist Cody Norton, who works at the Cusino field office in Shingleton, said additional work at the wildlife viewing area being completed this year includes clearing saplings from in front of the viewing platform, repairing rotting or broken lumber on the viewing platform and kiosk, and re-doing the landscaping around a memorial located at the site.

A map from an interpretive display shows the layout of the Rainey Memorial Wildlife Area in Schoolcraft County.“The community corrections workers have been a big help in our efforts to make repairs and improvements at the Rainey Wildlife area,” Norton said. “We greatly appreciate their help on this cooperative project.”

The walking trail at the site is accessible to all, including the lower platform at the viewing area, with scenic boardwalk areas and a crossing over a wetlands area. From the platform, Smith Creek, Indian Lake and Smith Slough are visible.

Check out more information on the site at

In 1984, the Michigan Conservation Foundation received a gift of 100 acres from the Roland Dorothy Hoholik and Donald and Cecile Hoholik families. The land was deeded to the DNR by the foundation, with a stipulation the project would be funded by the foundation, with help from the Rainey family, in memory of Gary L. Rainey (1954-1981), who was an avid outdoorsman.

The wildlife area is one of many vacation, recreation and nature attractions in the area.

“Southern Schoolcraft County is a great part of the Upper Peninsula to visit,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “In addition to the fantastic birdwatching available at the Rainey Memorial Wildlife Area, Indian Lake State Park, the sites and shops of Manistique, with its picturesque Lake Michigan boardwalk, and the state’s largest free-flowing spring at Palms Book State Park are all here.”

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