Iosco County is a county in the northeastern portion of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the population was 27,339. The county seat is Tawas City, located on the Lake Huron coastline. In 1840, the county was set off as Kanotin County, but was renamed Iosco—a native word meaning "water of light"—in 1843. The county was later organized in 1857.[1]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,891 square miles, of which, 549 square miles (1,422 km²) of it is land and 1,342 square miles (3,475 km²) of it (70.96%) is water. The county is bound to the north by Alcona County, to the west by Ogemaw County and to the southwest by Arenac County. To the east of Iosco County is Lake Huron, to the southeast is Saginaw Bay, including Tawas Bay. Oscoda County lies to the northwest of Iosco County, but only shares a border at a point of intersection.

Much of the county is protected land as part of the Huron National Forest. Other areas of protected land include the Turtle Marsh Wildlife Area[2] and the Au Sable State Forest. The county also has many lakes. The largest of which are part of the Au Sable River and created by damming of the river. One such dam, the Foote Dam, is located downriver from the reservoir known as the Foote Dam Pond. Other natural lakes, however, include Sand Lake, Indian Lake, Van Etten Lake, Tawas Lake and Long Lake.


The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, keeps files of deeds and mortgages, maintains vital records, administers public health regulations, and participates with the state in the provision of welfare and other social services. The county board of commissioners controls the budget but has only limited authority to make laws or ordinances. In Michigan, most local government functions — police and fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, street maintenance, etc. — are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.

Iosco County officials (elected 2008)Edit

Nuvola single chevron right See also: Iosco County elections, 2008

(current as of January 2009)

Iosco County commissioners (elected 2008)Edit

  • District 1: Roberta Roulo
  • District 2: Jeff Matthews
  • District 3: Bob Cudney
  • District 4: John Moehring
  • District 5: Patricia Schmidt


Iosco County contains four public school districts: Hale Area Schools, Oscoda Area Schools, Tawas Area Schools, and Whittemore-Prescott Area Schools. In addition to the four school districts, there are also three private elementary schools in the county, one in each incorporated city. Emanuel Lutheran School is located in Tawas City and Holy Family School is located in neighboring East Tawas. Shady Grove School is located within the small city of Whittemore.

While there are no college or university-level educational programs that are based out of Iosco County, Alpena-based Alpena Community College has a small campus on the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in which it offers classes. For residents outside Au Sable–Oscoda a small facility exists in East Tawas for higher education.

Cities, villages, and townshipsEdit






There are two principle newspapers in Iosco County. The Iosco County News-Herald is the newspaper of record for Iosco County.[3] The Oscoda Press, however, is a weekly newspaper serving northern Iosco County and southern Alcona County.[4] The Bay City Times is also largely circulated and available for purchase and delivery within the county. The Detroit News and Free Press are also widely available for purchase within the county.

Radio and TelevisionEdit

WIOS (1480 AM) is the only AM radio station in Iosco County, licensed to Tawas City. Other stations in Tawas City include WQLB (103.3 FM), WKJC (104.7), and WHST (106.1). WZHN (91.3 FM) is licensed to East Tawas, but broadcasts the same programming as WHST as part of the Northern Christian Radio Network.

Iosco County is officially part of the Flint–Saginaw–Bay City Designated Market Area for television broadcasts; although, stations from Alpena and Traverse City are viewable on cable and with a roof-top antenna. Large roof-top antenna can also receive some signals from down-state stations based out of Grand Rapids, Lansing and even Detroit under fair weather conditions.

Visitng Iosco CountyEdit

Iosco County is best-accessible via automobile or water craft. Travelers by car can access the county by using U.S. Highway 23 from points south, M-55 from points west, and either M-65 or U.S. Highway 23 from points north. U.S. 23 junctions with Interstate 75 near Standish, at exit 188. Travelers from downstate can use this freeway connection to access U.S. 23 in Standish and either remain on that highway to Tawas City or use M-65 to reach inland portions of the county, such as Whittemore, Hale, or the Sand Lake Area.[5]

Travelers by boat can sail to Tawas City, East Tawas, Au Sable or Oscoda; although, docking reservations should be considered before venturing. Iosco County lies where the Saginaw Bay opens into Lake Huron. To the southwest of Tawas City, up the bay, is Bay City, and across the Saginaw Bay to the southeast is Caseville and Port Austin.[5]


External linksEdit

Iosco County
County seat: Tawas City — Founded: 1840 as Kanotin; Organized: 1857 — Population: 27,339 (2000)
East Tawas · Tawas City · Whittemore
Charter townships
Au Sable · Oscoda
Civil townships
Alabaster · Baldwin · Burleigh · Grant · Plainfield · Reno · Sherman · Tawas · Wilber
Census-designated places
Au Sable · Oscoda
Other communities
Alabaster · Hale · Long Lake · McIvor · National City · Sand Lake
Neighboring counties
Alcona County (north), Arenac County (southwest), Ogemaw County (west), Oscoda County (northwest)
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.