The Manistee National Forest on Big Bass Lake

Were you surprised to learn that the Manistee National Forest is actually found ON Big Bass Lake? Now, you know that the forest surrounds the lake but ON the lake? How is that possible?

Well, the second smallest island on the lake I know as Turtle Island which some today call Pirate Island and it is found on the North side of Big Bass Lake. It is all forested and is actually owned by the Manistee National Forest. I understand that there are no camping signs on the island even though that many do choose to camp on that island. How habitable is this island? This marvelous photo came our way by Mike Elsner but perhaps there are those in the area that can tell us a little more about this island.

Could a house be placed on the island? The island next to it has about four structures on it so could Turtle Island be capable of housing one structure? How many locals have taken the time to camp on that island overnight? Let us know by way of a comment.

3 thoughts on “The Manistee National Forest on Big Bass Lake

  1. We have camped on the island many times over the years. Lots of room for tents and several fire pits exist, maybe National Forest sign but no signs that say you cannot camp there.

    We just try to leave it better than we found it…

    I would not think it’s quite big enough for a house but it’s a bit more stable than the small island on the south end.


  2. I know the sign went up two years ago…it does not say anything about not camping there. It states that it (island) is part of the Manistee National Forest and cutting trees down and littering is prohibited. I usually take my dog out and swim there. Also pick up any garbage left behind by others:(


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