Scott's Marsh Research Natural Area

[photo:] Scotts Marsh landscape. USDA Forest Service Photo by Sally Sanderson, 6-16-12

Scott’s Marsh contains more wetland acreage than any other RNA within the Hiawatha National Forest. It consists of a large complex of wetlands, rivers, and lakes that flow through the Shingleton area and branch both south and north toward the Great Lakes. This wetland complex provides ample habitat for plants and wildlife, helps to cleanse waters from surrounding areas, and establishes the headwaters for streams. Scott’s Marsh also represents a vital resting stop for rare and globally declining neotropical migratory birds.

Ecological Information

Physical and Climatic Conditions

Nearest weather station, with distance and direction from RNA:
The nearest weather station is Munising,(I.D. 205690, latitude 46 ̊24’N, longitude -86 ̊39’W). The station is about 10 miles due southeast of the RNA.
Annual precipitation (type, seasonal distribution) :
Annual rainfall averages 39 inches (98cm).
Maximum and minimum temperatures:
Daily maximum temperatures average 50° F; daily minimum temperatures average 34° F; average temperature in the fall/winter is 33° F; average spring/summer temperature is 51° F;
Elevations range from 825 feet (251m) to 864 feet (263 m) ASL.
Geology and Soils:
Soils on the Scott’s Marsh RNA consist of sandy soils formed in sandy material that lies on till, outwash, and lake plains. Wetland soils include are Carbondale, Lupton, andRifle Soils, while the soils in the upland forest are generally within the Rubicon and Croswell sand series.
Aquatic Features:
The wetland complex within Scott’s Marsh radiates outward and is connected to streams, rivers, inland lakes, and other aquatic bodies in the surrounding areas. No large rivers pass through the RNA, but the South Branch of Stutt’s Creek and Beaver Creek run on either side of the RNA.

Ecological Classification & Inventory

Eastern Upper Peninsula (212R)
Seney Lake Plain(212Rb)
Landtype Association
Shingleton fen(212Rb11), Stueben segment (Rh00)
National Vegetation Classification:
Class Forest and Woodland Shrubland and Grassland
Subclass Temperate Forest Temperate and Boreal Shrubland and Grassland
Formation Cool Temperate Forest Temperate/Boreal bog and fen
Division Eastern North American Cool Temperate Forest North American bog and fen
Macrogroup Northern Mesic Hardwood and Conifer Forest North American boreal bog and fen
Group Northern hardwood, hemlock, white pine forest group Eastern North American Boreal Acidic Bog and Poor Fen group

View or download Complete Plant List (pdf)

MI Natural Community Types:
Based on the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Scott’s Marsh RNA contains the following community types: northern shrub thicket (94%), patterned fen (3%), hardwood conifer swamp (3%), and poor conifer swamp (1%).
Common Flora:
I spp. (birch species), Vacciniumspp. (blueberry), Acer saccharum, (eastern white pine), Abies balsamea (balsam fir), Picea glauca (white spruce), Tsuga canadensis, Andromed polifolia (bog rosemary), and Alnus rugose (tag alder), and Peridium spp. (bracken fern).
Common Mammals:
Common mammals include: muskrat (Ondatra zibethic), eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus), red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), raccoon (Procyon lotor), river otter (Lutra canadensis), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), black bear (Ursus americanus), coyote (Canis latrans), redfox (Vulpes fulva), and moose (Alces alces).
Common Bird Species:
Some common birds include: sandhill crane (Grus canadensis), black duck (Anas rubripes), Canada goose (Branta canadensis), common loon (Gavia immer), great blue heron (Ardea herodias), and northern flicker (Colaptes auratus).
Potential Research Topics:
Potential research topics include climate change impacts on wetlands; successional pathways of a transitional ecosystem; effects of fireon woody succession; and studies on rare species that occur in this wetland.

Related Reports and Publications

Emerick, L. L.; 1989; Ornithology Survey of Rock River Canyon Wilderness.Unpublished reportfound on file at the Forest supervisor’s office, Gladstone, Michigan.

Haas, Skye; 2014; Fauna surveys. Unpublished report found on file at the Forest supervisor’s office, Gladstone, Michigan.

Hall, Christinr; 2016; Establishment record for Rock River Canyon Research Natural Area, Hiawatha National Forest, Rapid River District, Delta County, Michigan. 35pp.

Kimball, J. C.; 1977; An Archaeological Inventory and Evaluation of Lands in the Rock River Canyon Wilderness Area.Michigan Natural Features Inventory.

NGDC. National Geographic Data Committee; 2012; National Vegetation Classification Standard (NVCS). Available online: Accessed May 2012.

USDA Forest Service; 1986; Rock River Canyon cRNA evaluation report. Unpublished Report on file at the Forest supervisor’s office, Gladstone, Michigan.

Last Modified: August 19, 2021