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This Auto Tour includes approximately 68 miles. The time it takes to travel the entire route will vary according to the amount of time spent at each site. Take a picnic lunch and enjoy a leisurely day or drive the route and make return trips to the Historical Museum or Lumbermen's Monument to allow more time to browse or return again to Eagle Run or Corsair to spend more time hiking in the beautiful north woods.
The route is established so that you may begin at any point. Once you start on the tour you should follow the route in the direction of the arrows on the map.
You will want to take along a camera and extra film. be sure to check your gas gauge and have fun!
( MAP - 12KB )
1. Tawas Point Lighthouse
The historic lighthouse, owned and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, is located inside Tawas Point State Park. A State Park Vehicle Permit is required to enter and may be obtained at the Campground Office. The Tawas Point Lighthouse was built at its present location in 1876 and has been in continuous operation since then. The light-house stands 70 feet above the beautiful and historic waters of Tawas Bay which provides a rich variety of sport fishing and boating opportunities as well as miles of beautiful swimming beach.
Follow Tawas Beach Road to US-23 South, turn left and proceed about 500 feet past the traffic light to the Iosco County Museum on Tawas Bay.
2. Iosco County Historical Museum
The Museum preserves the exciting history of Iosco County with numerous displays including artifacts from the lumbering era. A new "carriage house" and Wurtsmith Air Force Base displays are also available for viewing. Plan to allow enough time to enjoy all the exhibits. Hours: July through Labor Day, Monday through Sunday 1-5pm; after Labor Day, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 1-5pm.
To reach Corsair, turn left on US-23 and proceed one mile. Follow signs to Corsair.
To reach Lighthouse, turn right on US-23 to Tawas Beach Road, then turn right on Beach Road. Follow signs to Tawas Point State Park.
The Corsair area, nestled in the pines of the Huron National Forest, provides a wide variety of recreational opportunities. It is nationally recognized for the quality of its extensive cross-country ski trail system. Forty-four miles of groomed trails of various degrees of difficulty are available to the public. The easiest trails traverse the gentle rolling terrain while the intermediate and difficult trails travel through steeper, densely wooded areas. In the summer, the trails provide a beautiful place to hike, jog and watch wildlife. silver Creek, flowing through the area, provides fishermen the thrill of catching a native trout.
Leaving Corsair turn left on Monument Road and proceed four miles to the Kiwanis Monument.
4. Kiwanis Monument
The Kiwanis Monument, established in 1931, honors the Kiwanis of Michigan, who donated 7,000,000 red pine seedlings planted by U.S. Forest Service crews from 1928 to 1930. The forest now covers nearly 10,000 acres. The pyramid is composed of stones collected from throughout Michigan carved with the names of clubs and individuals who contributed to the project.
Turn right and go one-half mile.
5. Lumbermen's Monument
Lumbermen's Monument stands on the scenic high banks of the AuSable River. The bronze statue, erected in 1931, is dedicated to the pioneer spirit and efforts of the Michigan Lumbermen. There are many things to do and see at Lumbermen's Monument. Besides viewing the Monument, you may visit the Lumbermen's Monument Visitor Center viewing the exhibits and purchasing items that relate to the lumbering era or environmental topics. U.S. Forest Service personnel are available for tours and to answer questions. Pause at the overlook area and view the panoramic AuSable River valley or descent the staircase to get a closer look at Cooke Dam Pond. Hike out to the "high banks" or have a picnic in one of the picnic areas. Whatever you do, be sure and plan to spend plenty of time at Lumbermen's Monument so you can experience all there is to do and see.
When leaving the Monument turn right on River Road and proceed one and one-half miles.
6. Canoe Race Monument
This monument was originally proposed by Oscoda resident John Sawyer as a memorial to Jerry Curley who died while practicing for the AuSable River Canoe Marathon. It now stands as a monument honoring all marathon canoe racers. This event is the longest and the most demanding canoe race marathon in the country extending 240 miles from Grayling to Oscoda. Eagles frequent this area and are often viewed from this site.
Continue on River Road about one mile to Iargo Springs.
7. Iargo Springs
The name Iargo, Indian for "Many Waters," has identified these springs for more than 400 years. Be sure to read the sign at the top of the 220 steps leading to the springs (recommended for only the hardy hiker). Let your imagination wander and see Indians in birch bark canoes gliding around the bend in the river.
When leaving Iargo Springs turn left on River Toad to Rea Road, the first left in Footsite.
8. AuSable River
As you travel along River Road you are driving parallel to the AuSable River. The AuSable is Michigan's longest and best known river long recognized as one of the nation's finest trout streams. The many large ponds created by the dams also contain bass, pike, walleye and a variety of panfish. Miles of spectacular beauty await canoeists and boaters. The AuSable River flows 240 miles from its beginning east of Grayling to its Lake Huron destination at Oscoda. Native Americans, trappers and traders utilized the river for transportation. The AuSable River was critical to the lumbering era. Even today the AuSable River enhances our lives by providing electrical power and unparalleled recreation.
9. Foote Dam
Foote Dam, built in 1917, is one of six power dams built by Consumer Power Company on the AuSable River. The others include Mio, Alcona (Bamfield), Loud, Five Channels and Cooke. These dams still generate electrical power.
Continue on Rea Road to Bissonette Road then turn right and go to F-41 then turn right again.
10. Former Wurtsmith Air Force Base
As you travel along Bissonette Road and F-41 you will be passing the former Paul D. Wurtsmith Air Force Base. The Base was home to the Strategic Air Command's 379th Bombardment Wing until its closure in June of 1993. It is now being utilized by various private business and industries, as well as colleges to provide a solid economic base for the community.
Follow F-41 and merge with US-23. Turn right at the next traffic light, River Road, three and one-half miles across from Oscoda Area High School.
11. Eagle Run Ski and Nature Trails
This area includes 11 miles of chipped trails that run along the south bank of the AuSable River and can be used all year for hiking. The trails are groomed in the winter for cross-country skiing. This is the site of the Eagle Run Cross Country Ski Race in February.
Turn right on River Road and proceed one-half mile to Mead Road.
12. Forest Fire Site
The area you are passing through was the site of a forest fire that burned more than 200 acres in 1984 and threatened the Oscoda Area Schools as well as homes along River Road. It is a vivid demonstration of the destructive power unleashed by careless use of fire in our forest.
Proceed one mile on Mead Road to Old US-23 turn right, two miles, left on Tuttle Marsh Road.
13. Tuttle Marsh
Tuttle Marsh is a 5,000 acre area managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Deer, fox, coyote, muskrat, beaver, otter, bear, weasel, grouse, woodcock, waterfowl and song birds abound. Thousands of deer winter in this marsh annually. a leisurely drive through this area will allow you to see many different species of wildlife.
Turn right on Davidson Road to May Road then left one-half mile to Sherman Road. Turn left on Sherman Road and proceed down Sherman and Wilber Roads until you see the power lines on the right.
14. Glendon Deer Farm
If you are here in the early evening (8 to 9pm) you will see deer in the fields on your left. This is a privately owned farm and hunting is not permitted. Parking is allowed on the east (left) side only.
Proceed south on Wilber Road to M-55 turn left to the traffic light, turn left on US-23 and proceed to Museum on right in City Park.