More than 900 acres of wetlands occur on this 3,023-acre state wildlife area. An extensive network of gravel-topped dikes in the wetlands is open to foot traffic all year. The remainder of the site is primarily undeveloped hardwood forest and small forest openings.
Wigwam Bay is an outstanding site for viewing shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl, and gulls. Unique or rare wetland bird species such as black terns, Forster’s terns, Caspian terns, yellow-headed blackbirds, American and least bitterns, sandhill cranes, common moorhens, and northern harriers are also found here. Bald eagles nest here, and are often seen soaring or sitting in perches along the dikes. Come in the spring for an excellent opportunity to see nesting snapping turtles.
Although the actual nesting is usually done under cover of darkness, a walk along the dikes in early morning will often reveal the two mounds of freshly dug earth that are characteristic of snapping turtle nests. It is also common to see the remains of nests that have been pilfered by raccoons and skunks. Mink, beaver, and otters are regularly seen. The occasional bobcat is also found.
Portions of this area are open to public hunting. Contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for hunting seasons and locations.From Standish, take Pine River Road east about 3.5 miles to Arenac State Road. Turn left (north) and drive about 1.5 miles to Stover Road (County Road 58). Continue east about 3.5 miles to the site entrance on the right.