History of Montmorency County

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Photo courtesy of Montmorency County Tribune

Montmorency was one of the last two Michigan counties to be officially approved by the state legislature in 1880 when it split from Alpena County, its official year of establishment is 1881.

During most of the nineteenth century, the county’s land was a dense forest with white pine, jack pine and some hardwoods. But in the late nineteenth century when lumber companies discovered the county’s vast timber resources, much of the land was clear-cut with the lumber being sent by rail to mills, to nearby rivers or to the Great Lakes for transportation down state. As the lumber industry declined, the county adapted by becoming agricultural as well as by promoting tourism.

The county has a total area of 563 square miles, of which 547 square miles is land and 16 square miles is water.

ORV/ATV and snowmobile trails are some of the state’s best. Many areas are designated as “trail mazes” on some maps. Montmorency County is one of the few counties that allows ATVs on public county roads, thus creating access for fuel, food and various hotels to Hillman, Atlanta, and Lewiston. The main trail system incorporates a scenic Elk tour and various levels of ATV trails.

The county is made up of three cities, Atlanta, Hillman, Lewiston. With Atlanta being the county seat. Eight townships- Albert, Avery, Briley, Hillman, Loud, Montmorency, Rust and Vienna. And the incorporated village of Hillman comprise the local governmental units of Montmorency County. As of the 2021 United States census, there were 9,297 people residing in Montmorency County.