Originating in Higgins and Houghton Lakes, the Muskegon River flows 219 miles to its confluence with Muskegon Lake. The river drains 2,725 square miles of watershed and passes over four major dams, Reedsburg, Rogers, Hardy and Croton on its journey to Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan. The watershed encompasses a variety of land uses including agricultural, forest, recreational, urban, and commercial uses. The rivers history is as long as the river itself. Pre-settlement, the river was a conduit for the movement and a source of sustenance for the native people. During the lumbering era, it transported thousands of logs to the 47 lumber mills on the shores of Muskegon Lake. More recently, it provides electrical power, a valuable recreational resource and a world class fishery.
The river hosts large wetland complexes at its headwaters and at its confluence with Muskegon Lake which provide rich and unique habitats for fish and wildlife.
The natural features and history of the Muskegon River have informed its current impacts on Muskegon Lake and given us both curses and blessings to manage and benefit from.