Location:52864 Red Brick Rd, Houghton, MI 49931
Year Conserved:2002 & 2006
Category:Public Nature Area


Hiking on trails
Nature viewing
Picnic area
Water Trail access


Accessible Trails
Fire ring
Kayak/Canoe access
Picnic Tables


Marsin Nature Retreat is a welcome place for organizations, groups, families, and individuals in search of a place to gather and enjoy the environment around us along with all the basic amenities.  Internet and cell service is spotty at Marsin.

This 40-acre nature area and the campus Retreat are available year round.

With the help of our dedicated volunteers, we added trails and a boardwalk through a white cedar swamp. This property not only allows access to the cedar swamp and surrounding lands, but it also gives access to water & shoreline. We are working to add to our native plant demonstration gardens and shoreline naturalization. 

There is an additional sleeping cottage on the premises.

Planning your visit

We are allowing reservations for day use and overnight stays (see below for how to make a reservation).  Internet and cell service is spotty at Marsin.  If you are planning a retreat at Marsin, be sure to download your slides etc. BEFORE arriving.  You may not be able to access any cell service in all parts of the retreat.

The 40-acre Marsin Nature Area can be accessed from the Trailhead Parking area on Red Brick Road and is open year-round for low impact recreational or educational daytime use.  The Marsin Retreat on the lakeshore campus (see floor plan at left ) offers a Great Room with fireplace, sunroom with a deck overlooking the Portage Waterway, small covered outdoor fireplace, and larger open fire ring. The Marsin Retreat has a fully equipped kitchen (photo left) and can accommodate groups of up to about 40 for indoor seating at tables, and up to about 100 for combined indoor/outdoor use.   Three back rooms accommodate sleeping or break-out sessions for meetings (see photos at left) Tent camping is allowed in conjunction with scheduled use and a few tents and sleeping bags are provided. There are two indoor bathrooms and 1 outdoor portable toilet.  There are two fold out futons, 1 double bed, 4 single beds.  You must provide your own bedding.  The large walk-out basement can be used for projects or extra indoor space for planned outdoor events in inclement weather.  A few paddle boats and canoes are provided.  Fishing off the shore or docks is allowed in accordance with all State regulations.   NO DIVING allowed at Marsin.  For swimming, we encourage your group to go to the Breakers public beach about 4 miles from Marsin at the north end of the Houghton Canal Road. 

KLT does not allow campfires if open burn is not permitted.  See DNR Burn Permits Map (state.mi.us) for current information on fire risk.

Marsin Cottage (final two photos at left) :  a small rustic cottage on the grounds of the lakeshore campus near the main Retreat Center has electric but no running water.  A modestly equipped kitchenette with microwave, toaster, coffee maker and tableware and gravity fed sink you can carry water from the main Retreat.   KLT sometimes uses this cottage to house visiting interns or guests while Marsin is otherwise in use – so if you would like to use the cottage during your event, please inquire when you make your reservation. 

Why this place is special

The late Mary Sinish grew up in the Keweenaw, spending summers along the Portage Waterway on her family's land and visiting her grandfather and great-uncle. Inspired by this experience and those at a Wisconsin summer camp, she donated 40 acres to the Keweenaw Land Trust with the intention of making the land available to the public, especially children, to provide opportunities to learn about nature and enjoy the outdoors. Located near Oskar Bay, the nature area includes forested and shrubby areas with scattered wet meadows and dense cedar swamps. A trailhead is located partway down Red Brick Road (see map)

Mrs. Sinish augmented the nature area and the quality of life for residents when she bequeathed to KLT an additional 16 acres, including her two homes along 900 feet of shoreline on Portage Waterway. Mary's vision was to establish a nature retreat for those with limited access to the serenity of the outdoors, a place where the elderly, children, scouts, artists, and groups who work with the disadvantaged could relax, learn, and enjoy all that nature offers. This place is special because internet and cell service is spotty at Marsin.  See Make a Reservation below if your group is interested in reserving the retreat.

Maps & documents

The following documents provide additional details about this nature area.

Make a reservation

If you are interested in booking this location, please check the calendar below to see which dates are available, then fill out the form below. Click on or tap events to see their end time.

If you have any questions, feel free to send an email to cabins@keweenawlandtrust.org.  Thank you in advance for your interest in this unique and special property.