When you think of swamps, what comes to mind? Snakes, mosquitoes, thick weeds, mud, algae, frogs, etc... Swamps do have a certain reputation...I fell thru the ice into a swamp when I was a kid and had a heckuva time trying to pull myself out...that was panic time.

Whereas the Michigan swamps aren't as deadly as the ones in Florida – gators, crocs, huge snakes –  many of them are still not too pleasant to be around. On the other hand, the land around many of Michigan's swamps have trails and boardwalks that make visiting our swamps more enjoyable; some even have campgrounds.

The title of “Longest Swamp in Michigan” goes to the Dead Stream Swamp, a/k/a/ Dead Stream Flooding, near Houghton Lake on the west side of Roscommon County.

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The Dead Stream Flooding State Wildlife Management Area reaches from Roscommon County into Missaukee County. It's a protected wildlife area that was created in part when the Reedsburg Dam was constructed in 1940 to prevent flooding from Houghton Lake. The swamp alone covers around 540 acres.

Even though fishing is excellent here (bass, pike, bluegill, perch) boating is not. The water is shallow with many things underwater hidden from view that could damage a craft, like logs and other types of obstacles. The woods around the swamp area are good for hunting and camping.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, “The site is an exceptionally large example (one of the largest in the United States) of a northern white cedar swamp, considered to be the climax in bog forest development. Large white cedar swamps are disappearing, partially due to the demand for this timber product.”

The DNR also states the entire scope of the flooding/swamp area covers a total of somewhere between 11,500 and 12,000 acres.

Dead Stream Flooding: The Longest Swamp in Michigan


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