Seney Stretch and Seney wildlife refuge

The Upper Peninsula can boast about being home to the three oldest cities in the State of Michigan. The oldest city in our great state is Sault Ste. Marie, founded in 1668. St. Ignace is the second oldest, founded in 1671, and Marquette in the third oldest, founded in 1675. It is Father Jacques Marquette who is credited for establishing Sault Ste. Marie in 1668.

Let us now make a trip from the third oldest city in Michigan (Marquette) and head east on Highway M-28.

After you pass through Shingleton, you will find yourself on what is called the “Seney Stretch.”

This so-called Seney Stretch is a 24-mile long section of M-28 that is perfectly straight and level. At the western end of the Seney Stretch is the town of Shingleton and at the eastern end of the Seney Stretch is the town of Seney. It is the longest straight stretch of road in the State of Michigan, and believed to be the second longest straight stretch of road in the Midwest.

There is a brief historical guide to the Seney Stretch written by Jim Carter of Marquette. He presents a very enlightening review of many historical points of interest along Michigan’s longest section of absolutely straight highway.

For example, the area near the Creighton river had a Standard gas station, the Pines bar and restaurant, and cabins available for Seney Stretch motorists. It was also a popular base camp for hunters and fisherman. This Seney Stretch book is a fun read and is available in local book stores.

Further, it is usually a surprise for many people to learn that there are a total of 12 named rivers or creeks that flow under the Seney Stretch. It is also interesting to note that the rivers and creeks on the Seney Stretch all flow from north to south.

These relatively small rivers and creeks eventually send their water southward down into the Manistique River. The Manistique River then flows through Germfask and over to Manistique where it empties into Lake Michigan.

Michigan Highway M-77 is at the eastern end of the Seney stretch. If you turn south on M-77 and go about 6 miles, you will find the entrance to the Seney National Wildlife Refuge on the right (west) side of M-77. This is a great place to visit. Following are some facts about the Seney National Wildlife Refuge that may prompt your interest to stop in for a visit to this wonderful wildlife refuge.

The Seney National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.

The refuge is located in the east-central portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, about halfway between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Specifically, it is located just southwest of Seney and north of Germfask. It is a very large body of land with approximately 96,000 total acres.

The Seney National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to watch wildlife and each year visitors from around the world come to the refuge to observe our wildlife. There is a designated auto tour that you can drive on your own and this provides people of all ages and abilities an excellent opportunity to observe wildlife.

You may also choose to walk one of the nature trails or hike and bike the backcountry roads in search of wildlife. You may well see black bear, river otter, foxes, or even a gray wolf. During the winter, they also welcome the use of cross-country skis or snowshoes to track and observe wildlife.

Editor’s note: Dr. Jim Surrell, author of “SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet,” has his practice at the Digestive Health Clinic at Marquette General Health System. Requests for health topics for this column are encouraged. Contact Dr. Surrell by email at sosdietdoc@gmail.com.