Popular public access sites
Lakes and rivers along the Inland Water Route have several public access sites and launches that allow boaters to easily get their boats into and out of the water.
Indian River has a boat launch at Marina Park that allows you to drop a boat in the center of the Water Route and go out to Burt Lake or Mullett Lake or you might choose just to cruise up and down the river. Marina Park is operated by Tuscarora Township. In addition to parking next to the launch ramp, there is also an overflow parking lot a short distance away. Marina Park is also within walking distance of downtown Indian River.
The launch ramp at Burt Lake State Park is another heavily used access site in Indian River. It is currently being improved and expanded.
There are also private marina launch ramps in Indian River as well as a small ramp at the end of Witt Street. The Witt Street ramp is suitable for small boats, but there is minimal parking.
The Maple Bay access site is at the other end of Burt Lake, near Brutus. Launch ramps and parking at that site underwent major improvements in recent years. The site is located next to the Maple Bay campground.
Burt Lake also has multiple road ends and beaches. In some instances, the road ends aren't suitable for anything other than small boats in the summer, but do serve as convenient access points for ice fishermen during the winter.
One of the most popular access sites on the Crooked Lake is a township ramp and parking area located off of US-31 near Conway. The DNR also has a small gravel access ramp on Pickerel Lake. There are also private marinas with ramps on both the Crooked Lake and Crooked River near Alanson.
Mullett Lake has several public access sites. There are improved launch ramps at Aloha State Park.
Near Cheboygan, there is a site on the river and also a large and relatively new site, called The Forks, south of Cheboygan off of Straits Highway.
An access site just off of Straits Highway near Mullett Lake Village is popular with boaters in the summer and ice fishermen in the winter. There is also a launch ramp on the west shore of Mullett Lake, just north of Topinabee.
On the east side of Mullett Lake there is an access site with ramps off of Jewell Road. The DNR has secured funding for a significant upgrade there.
While most of the DNR's access site projects are focused on improving existing sites or balancing site use, the DNR is looking at purchasing what had been a private marina and converting it into a public access site on the Black River, just off the north end of Black Lake. The concept is to purchase the property and in phase one install a single launch ramp with 20 parking spaces and a vault toilet.
There are currently public access sites on Black Lake at Onaway State Park and a small site near the Black River Forest campground. Those sites are near the other end of the lake and the DNR would like to add the new site for balance and for safety.