Warren Woods State Park is a public recreation area located in the town of Grayling, Alcona County, Michigan. The state park’s 1,000 acres (400ha) include Lake Warren and Cedar Mountain. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Warren Woods-Grayling Site on January 21, 2017. Warren Woods State Park was among 13 parks established following the creation of the Michigan Conservation Commission in 1975.
Warren Woods State Park encompasses approximately 740 acres with over half of this amount consisting of mature hardwoods such as maple, oak, and hickory trees. Much of the remainder consists of mixed hardwood forests including northern red oak, yellow birch, white pine, eastern hemlock, and ash. Over 450 acres are designated as a “state natural area,” meaning that no logging may occur here without a special permit from the DNR. Another 230 acres are open to logging under special circumstances where the logger must pay $1 per thousand board feet ($8/acre) to the DNR.
An additional 120 acres are clear cut during annual logging operations, with the remaining acreage available for general logging each summer. . There is also a campground with modern facilities, cabins, lodges, and historic Warren Woods Mill No. 2 which houses the visitor center and museum.
The park offers swimming, picnicking, playgrounds, boat launch, fishing, hunting, camping sites, cabins, lodge, conference room, picnic shelters, ball field, softball diamonds, basketball courts, horseshoe court, volleyball net, archery range, disc golf course, playground areas, cabin store, bait shop, vending machines, laundry facilities, restrooms, showers, campsites for group tenting or family camping, and pet friendly sites.
Warren Woods State Park genesis began when local citizens were concerned about future logging at nearby Gillette Castle State Forest. They met with officials from the Department of Natural Resources who agreed that an additional unit of the DNR would be created to protect this parcel of forest land. Citizens proposed that the new unit be named Warren Woods Unit, after the small community and former mill town that now occupied part of the site. Officials with the forestry department suggested that instead of creating a new unit they could simply add this one onto what was already there.
This smaller unit was authorized by the legislature two years later. However, it soon became apparent that this did not provide enough protection for the thousands of acres of forested woodlands across the state. Once again meeting with the DNR, local citizens proposed expanding the size of the original unit to create a second growth hardwood forest reserve. A provision was inserted into the legislation authorizing the new unit that required it to be set aside as a “state natural area” if certain conditions could be met within five years; otherwise the unit would revert to its previous use as timberland. In 1980 these conditions were satisfied and the park was opened to the public.
- cross country skiing
- mountain biking