Owasippe Scout Reservation is a 4,800 acre property in West-Central Michigan within the boundary of Manistee National Forest. Owned and operated by the Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the land is also open for public use. Visitors may rent a campsite or lake cabin for overnight stays. (Off-Season Camping Information) Convenient access to hiking and mountain bike trails and lakes (small floating docks are only steps away from each site) allow campers to explore the area in their favorite way. Canoes and row boats are available at no cost (life preservers and paddles too). Users may pick up and return them at their leisure. If that isn’t enough free stuff, fishing licenses are not required on any land-bound waters within Owasippe. Other recreational options include shooting sports and horseback riding. You may encounter uncommon wildlife such as bald eagle, hawk, sandhill crane, eastern box turtle, Blanding’s turtle, and mole. More prevalent are swan, turkey, deer, skunk, possum, raccoon, chipmunk, mouse, bluegill, bass, and pike. Owasippe is a camper’s paradise featuring a unique oak savanna ecosystem, user-friendly services, and a range of outdoor activities.
Fun Features: The Quaking Bog is a must-see destination and only a ten minute hike from Reneker Family Camp on the Blue Trail. Why must you see it? It’s actually that you need to feel it, walk and jump on it. Think trampoline, but way more interesting because you are on seemingly solid ground. With a long stick (there are several that others have brought in) you can test the properties of quicksand without risking the loss of your shoes.
Mushrooms. Those fascinating fungi are everywhere and the variety is pretty insane. All colors, shapes, and sizes grow along the trails. While I would not suggest harvesting any for a snack, bringing an identification guide could be fun if only to know what they all are and play the role of a naturalist for a day.
Stream crossings add a bit of adventure to your travels through the forest, requiring balance and solid foot placement. You can also add to the branches that span these waters, building up the bridges with what you find close by.
Mountain biking for intermediate to advanced riders. Over 75 miles of well maintained single track – get after it!
To Know Before You Go: If you aren’t fond of the taste of well water, buy a few gallon jugs of water or fill up empty jugs at home.
On the drive in, there will be opportunities to purchase firewood at $2.00 – $3.00/bundle. A good idea if you aren’t in the mood to spend your time gathering wood from the forest floor. Always get more wood than you think you’ll need, especially on cold nights.
Bring a flashlight or headlamp and carry it with you always. The night comes quickly and it is easy to lose track of time when you are exploring a new area. The trails are well marked – a light and trail map will guarantee that you can find your way back to your tent or cabin.
Print out maps and directions to your specific camp destination before you leave home. You will lose cell phone reception. A list of useful maps from the B.S.A. is provided below.
Cabin Details: Kitchen – stove, refrigerator, sink, table/chairs. Bring your own pots, pans, dishes and utensils. Bath – toilet, sink, hot shower. Bedroom – two rooms with a twin or double mattress in each. Living room – couch, chairs, fireplace. Porch (some are screened-in, some open) – picnic table, grill.
Tent Details: BYOT!