Pontagannissing Dam

Drummond Island is my most favorite place to go in the U.P.  Maybe because I am 6th generation Seaman, the first white settlers on the Island.  We have a family cabin on the south shore to open

Pike Bay, Drummond Island Photo Credit: E. Benoit

up each spring as soon as the road is clear.  While there I love getting up early and getting out in the canoe or kayak to see all the wildlife activity when the water is like glass and the sun is just rising.


Drummond Island Ferry

Drummond is the eastern-most tip of the Upper Peninsula.  It takes about an hour to reach the ferry in DeTour Village after crossing the Mackinac Bridge.  Follow I-75 North or South (from the International

Bridge) to the exit for M-134 and head east, it is as easy as that.  It can also be reached via M-129, M-48 and county roads Gogomain, E. South Caribou Lake, or E. North Caribou Lake.   Ferry schedules and cost can be found at EUP Transportation Authority.

There are many places to paddle – inland lakes and rivers as well as the around the coastal shoreline.  You can find detailed information from the local Tourism Bureau on local water trails or use our interactive map to plan your paddling adventures.

Pontagannising Dam Photo Credit: E. Benoit

A special in-land access site is the Pontagannissing (pah-tah-guh-NEES-ing  – “Bay of many bays”) River.  From the ferry travel east on M-134 to the 4 Corners, turn left on Townline Road drive to stop sign, turn right and follow Maxton Road.  After crossing the bridge over the river, watch for signs to turn right on a dirt road leading to the Dam.   There is parking and a boat launch to access the river, but no other facilities. (Closest restroom is at the DNR Boat Launch just a little farther up Maxton Road and to the left.)    From there you can paddle into the back country through four inter-connected lakes, simply named First, Second, Third, and Fourth.  The whole area is ecologically rich in diversity.  Bring a GPS or compass as it is wilderness country and no cell phone signal.  If camping stop at Johnson’s Sports Shop  or visit on-line to get a DNR Dispersed Camping Permit.

Suckers in Spring, 2018 at the Pontagannissing Dam. Photo Credit: E. Benoit

There is usually something to see at the Dam.  I have fond memories of snagging suckers as a kid with the family in the spring.  Lately, I’ve become somewhat of a birder and like to stop by the Dam to photograph nature.

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Look close, that’s not just grass. Photo Credit: E. Benoit




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American Bittern, Pontagannissing Dam. Photo Credit: E. Benoit





Financial assistance for this project was provided, in part, by the Michigan Coastal Zone Management Program, Office of the Great Lakes, Department of Environmental Quality, under the National Coastal Zone Management Program, through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

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