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400-mile birding trail opens in the Upper Peninsula

piping plover stands on beach
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Endangered piping plovers are one of many bird species people can see on the 400-mile birding trail in the Eastern Upper Peninsula.

Endangered piping plovers, all eight species of Michigan’s woodpeckers, and the migratory bird corridor are some highlights from the “shore to shore” trail.

Birding is one of the fastest-growing outdoor hobbies in the country. In an effort to highlight Michigan birds and support local economies, the state has developed a 400-mile birding trail in the Eastern Upper Peninsula.

The self-guided driving trail stretches from St. Ignace, to Sault Ste. Marie - to Whitefish Point.

Mike McCarthy is with the Chippewa Luce Mackinac Conservation District. He worked on a team with the DNR to develop the trail’s 50 points of interest. He said the team chose to focus on birds because birding is an increasingly popular hobby, with low environmental impacts.

“Our local economies here in the UP are highly reliant on tourism activities, so having another activity is a really great benefit to the area,” McCarthy said.

For non-birders, McCarthy said the trail is a way to explore the Eastern UP’s diverse natural landscapes.

“You can go shoreline birding, inland forestry birding, you can go to the grasslands," he said. "There are some unique locations where you can see birds that are harder to find.”

To see the birding sites, visit the shore to shore website.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corp Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She is covering rural environmental issues, public health and Michigan commerce. Homsi has a bachelor’s from Central Michigan University in environmental studies, journalism and anthropology. During her undergraduate, she was a beat reporter for CMU’s student newspaper Central Michigan Life and interned for the Huron Daily Tribune. She has also interned for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy in the superfund section. *Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms, more info at