Eco-Tourism in Muskegon County

muskegon county wastewater management

Muskegon County Wastewater Management System

More than just a wastewater management system, MCWMS land provides opportunity for many recreation activities. Click a tab below for more information.

 

  • Recreation
  • Birdwatching
  • Tours
  • Wildlife Habitat Certification

Opportunities for recreation abound at the wastewater facility on its vast tracts of open land. Be sure to obtain the appropriate passes and permits from the office before you venture out.

The John J. Helstrom Nature Trail
A Nature Trail on site provides for education and recreation

Hunting and Trapping
A variety of opportunities exist for hunters at the wastewater.

Muskegon Astronomical Society
The Muskegon Astronomical Society maintains an observatory on site.

M.M.A.R. – Muskegon Michigan Area Rocketry Launch Site
The Muskegon Michigan Area Rocketry launch site is on the property.

Snowmobile Trails
Over 10 miles of groomed snowmobile trails pass through the property.

Radio Controlled Airplane Field
The Port City RC Club maintains their field on the site.

West Michigan Area RC Club
The West Michigan Area RC Club has an area reserved for its use.

Beagle Club
The Port City Beagle Club holds some of its events at the wastewater.

Pheasants Forever
Pheasants Forever maintains approximately 250 acres of pheasant habitat on site

Marsh Camera

The variety of habitat at the Wastewater System includes over 1,000 acres of even-aged conifer and dryland white and black oak woodlots; over 5,000 acres of alfalfa, corn, and soybean cropland; 20 miles of drainage ditches, 60 acres of treatment ponds, 11 miles of shoreline around 1,700 acres of storage lagoons; a few hundred acres of natural upland grasslands; and assorted wetland marshes and potholes. Because of this, the 11,000-acre treatment plant is considered one of the best birding sites in Michigan. At least 256 species of birds have been documented at the facility (two-thirds of all species ever recorded in Michigan). Possibly the rarest bird ever documented in the state was seen here in April of 1985, a White Wagtail.

Tens of thousands of geese and ducks spend part of the winter at the site, sharing the area with Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Snowy Owls, Snow Buntings, plovers, sandpipers, and dozens of other bird species. At other times of the year, birders might see Red Phalarope, Greater White-fronted Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Gyrfalcon, Eared Grebe, or American White Pelican.

The Muskegon facility is located adjacent to the Muskegon State Game Area, which helps draw birds to the wastewater system. Birders are welcome at the facility provided they obtain a pass at the wastewater system office before touring the site. Birders that can show membership in a birding organization can be issued annual passes. Contact the office at 231-724-3440 for more information.

Birding Brochure
An informative handout for tour groups and individuals interested in visiting the plant property for bird watching (PDF – 611 KB)

Muskegon County Nature Club
This link to our local Audubon Club and their activities has a lot of information regarding birding at the plant. Click here for a list of recent sightings.

MDNR Waterfowl Bird Counts
This is a link to the weekly waterfowl bird counts taken during the fall by MDNR State Game Area staff

We’d be glad to have you visit! Tours can be arranged for your group by contacting:

Steve Barnard, Wastewater Safety & Technical Coordinator, at 231-724-3441 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Muskegon County Wastewater has gained Conservation Certification through the Wildlife Habitat Council. Much work by employee volunteers was done to help gain and maintain this certification. Current projects include: Bluebird house box monitoring, a nature trail, habitat enhancement and partnership with Pheasants Forever. Stop by to see our work in action or visit the Council’s website at: Wildlife Habitat Council

michigan water trails

Michigan Water Trails

The Michigan Great Lakes Water Trails website had its genesis in a visionary group of volunteers from all over the state - people who work with coastal communities and love the Great Lakes. Their ambitious goal is to promote coastal public access by linking regional water trails to form a statewide water trail system along every mile of Great Lakes shoreline. Some regional trails exist and some are still being mapped, but we hope that all of them will benefit from this site. Support for the development of this website has been provided by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Coastal Zone Management Program, with content provided by communities and volunteers all over the state.

Please enjoy the site, then get out and enjoy the most beautiful freshwater coastline in the world!

Visit MichiganWaterTrails.org

muskegon county parks

Explore your "backyard"

Camp, hike, swim, cycle…No matter your preference, all can be enjoyed at one of Muskegon County’s beautiful parks, all year long. If you're a Muskegon County resident, find out what's in your own “backyard.”

Make a campsite or facility reservation  County Parks Park Facilities

muskegon winter sports complex

Muskegon Winter Sports Complex

Our mission is to provide quality, reliable, winter recreational sports activities and programs to both Muskegon County residents and visitors to the area. To uphold the strict environmental guidelines set forth by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to protect the quality and enjoyment of the Muskegon State Park.

The operation of the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex is not a small task and one that is not taken lightly by the employees and volunteers that operate this unique facility each season. The complex is operated by the Muskegon Sports Council, a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Muskegon Luge Club, and the West Michigan Speed Skating Club.

Visit MSports.org

biking and hiking in muskegon

Biking & Hiking in Muskegon

Whether you’re looking for miles of road biking along Lake Michigan or prefer the challenge of single track ups and downs, Muskegon County has your ride.

Enjoy paved trails or rustic single tracks for biking or hiking in Muskegon County. The Hart-Montague Trail and Musketawa Trail offers 24 and 26 miles of paved rail-to-trail recreation. And, three state parks, city and county parks offer options for hiking the signature sand dunes.

Over 25 miles of single track winds through rolling hills, marshes, lakes and forests. Trailhead access is off Russell Road where a day pass or season passes are available. Beginners, choose the shorter two-mile green loop. The blue and black trails offer intermediate and experienced riders a 10-mile or 13-mile loop over roots, bridges and ridgelines, with plenty of lake/stream views..

View trail maps @ wmtrails.org