Sylvania Wilderness and Recreation Area
This 18,327-acre, federally designated wilderness area and adjacent recreation area is famous for its numerous pristine lakes and old growth forest.
Six of Sylvania’s 35 named lakes are over 250 acres in size. Numerous smaller lakes, ponds and bogs lie scattered among the rolling hills. Sandy shorelines on many of the lakes make for fun swimming and the exceptionally clear water allows you to see far below as you paddle or snorkel.
Much of Sylvania’s appeal comes from its magnificent trees, many of them 300 to 400 years old. Most of this vast wilderness is covered by virgin northern hemlock-hardwood forest with scattered pockets of towering red and white pines. Giant trees stand like sentinels along the lake shorelines. A visitor to Sylvania gets to see and feel what the forests and lakes of the Northwoods were like prior to European settlement.
Remote beach on Clark Lake
Entrance to the Sylvania Wilderness Area on Crooked Lake.
Fish thrive in Sylvania’s protected lakes. Commonly found fish include large and small mouth bass, lake trout, walleye, northern pike, crappie, perch, bluegill and sunfish. Loons and eagles are often seen and heard. Paddlers occasionally encounter otter, beaver, mink and and other shoreline creatures.
Sylvania Wilderness Cabins
E21831 Crooked Lake Road, Watersmeet, MI 49969
Contact us at:
Tim and Jill Schmidt
Address: W5541 Firelane 12, Menasha WI 54952
Click here to view a map of the Sylvania Wilderness and Recreation Area
Electric motors are allowed in the Wilderness Area on Crooked Lake only. Electric motors are limited to an equivalent of 48lbs of thrust or 4hp.
Special fishing regulations apply on most Sylvania’s lakes (Crooked Lake is exempt from these special regulations) so the unique resource with its older and larger fish can be maintained. Larger size limits apply, only artificial lures can be use and bass are catch and release only. Look for the Sylvania section on the Michigan DNR's fishing regulations that come with your license.
A special permit is required to enter the Sylvania Wilderness Area. We have these permits available at our office for our guests. This permit is free.
Between May 15 and September 30, a facility fee is required to use the developed facilities in the Sylvania Recreation Area, such as the Crooked Lake and Clark Lake boat landings and the beach area on the north end of Clark Lake. The cost of a facility pass in 2007 is $5 per vehicle for a day pass or $20 per vehicle for a season pass.
For additional information on the Sylvania Wilderness and Recreation Area, please contact the Sylvania Wilderness and Recreation Area entrance station at 906-358-4404, the Ottawa National Forest Visitor Center at 1-906-358-4724 or the Ottawa National Forest Watersmeet Ranger District at 1-906-358-4551.
The Friends of Sylvania website, www.friendsofsylvania.org, is a good source of information about the park and also provides a way to help care for the Sylvania Wilderness.
Designated wilderness is the highest level of conservation protection for federal lands. Special rules apply to preserve Sylvania's wilderness character and natural condition.
Motorized equipment, motor vehicles, mechanical transport, temporary roads, permanent structures or installations are not allowed within the Wilderness portion of the park.
Gas motorboats are not allowed on any of the lakes in the Sylvania Wilderness Area with one exception. A few Crooked Lake property owners and their guests are allowed to take thier gas motorboats into the wilderness area on Crooked Lake.