Explore Responsibly in Marquette County, MI

We are proud of our beautiful landscapes, pristine shorelines, and tree-covered wilderness. We live UP here because we enjoy these natural environments, and we know you visit us because you do too. But when we go outside, our recreation can impact the nature we love so much.  

We ask you to join us in protecting the lakes, forests, and natural spaces we all love and enjoy by recreating responsibly. We have partnered with Leave No Trace and Discover Big Bay to bring you these guidelines for responsible recreation. Follow these seven principles when visiting Marquette County to keep our landscapes as beautiful as when you found them. 

As you 'Make your Marq' we ask that you will explore responsibly and Leave No Trace.

 Explore Responsibly 

  1. Know Before You Go

  • Be prepared!  Remember to pack food and water and clothes to protect you from the elements.

  • Cell phone service and wifi can be limited in certain parts of Marquette County. Use maps to plan where you’re going. Check them along the way so you’ll stay on course and won’t get lost. 

  • Use designated roads to travel to and from trails and recreation areas. Offroading in wilderness areas damages Marquette County’s fragile ecosystems and causes erosion.

  • Remember to bring a leash for your pet and bags to pick up your pet’s waste. 

  • Learn about the areas you plan to visit. Read books, check online and talk to people before you go.  

  • Try to avoid peak visitation times to avoid crowds and prevent overuse of recreation areas. 


  1. Stick to Trails and Respect Their Usage

  • Walk and ride on designated trails to protect trailside plants.

  • Do not step on flowers or small trees. Once damaged, they may not grow back.

  • Respect private property by staying on designated trails. 

  • Camp only on existing or designated campsites to avoid damaging vegetation. 

  • Some of Marquette County’s trails are for nonmotorized recreation only and do not permit the use of ATVs, 4x4s or other motorized vehicles. Make sure the trail you plan to ride permits motorized use. The county does have designated snowmobile and ski trails in the winter.

  • In the winter, be respectful of the groomed ski trails and avoid ruining the tracks. Keep walking or snowshoeing off to the other side of the trail. 


  1. Trash Your Trash and Pick Up Poop

  • Pack it in, Pack it out. Put litter—even crumbs, peels and cores—in garbage bags and carry it home. 

  • Use bathrooms or outhouses when available. If not available, bury human waste in a small hole 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet or 70 big steps from water and trails. For pee, go this same distance whenever possible try and pee on a durable surface such as rocks, twigs or leaves. Use a poop bag to pack out your pet’s poop to a garbage can. Pet waste contains pathogens that be harmful for wildlife, humans and other pets. 

  • Keep water clean. Do not put soap, food, or human or pet waste in Big Bay’s beautiful lakes or streams. 


  1. Leave It As You Find It

  • Leave plants, rocks and historical items as you find them so others can enjoy them. 

  • Treat living plants with respect. Carving, hacking or peeling plants may kill them.

  • Clean your gear including boots, boats and tires to avoid introducing or transporting non-native species to Marquette County.

  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.


  1. Be Careful with Fire

  • Use a camp stove for cooking. Stoves are easier to cook on and create less impact than a fire.

  • Campfires are not permitted in most areas of Marquette County. If they are permitted in your area, use only designated fire rings to protect the ground and contain the fire. Keep your fire small.

  • Burn all wood to ash and be sure the fire is completely out and cold before you leave.


  1. Keep Wildlife Wild

  • Observe wildlife from a distance.  Do not follow or approach them.

  • Protect wildlife and your food by securely storing your meals and trash.

  • Never feed animals.  Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors and exposes them to predators and other dangers.


  1. Share Our Trails and Manage Your Pet

  • Be considerate when passing others on the trail.

  • Keep your pet under control to protect it, other visitors and wildlife.

  • Listen to nature. Avoid making loud noises or yelling. You will see more wildlife if you are quiet.

  • Be sure the fun you have outdoors does not bother anyone else.  Remember, other visitors are there to enjoy the outdoors too.

This information was developed from the seven Leave No Trace principles.
For more information on Leave No Trace, please visit www.LNT.org or call 1.800.332.4100