Newaygo County was named after Chippewa Indian Chief: Naw-wa-goo, one of the signers of the Treaty of Saginaw in 1812. The county has over 230 natural lakes and over 350 miles of rivers and streams. Three huge dams were built after the turn of the century: Croton, Hardy and Newaygo. Croton and Hardy Dams remain today, with Hardy the largest earthen dam east of the Mississippi.
Today Newaygo County relies on tourism as its main economic support, with agriculture and small manufacturing secondary. The Muskegon River continues to be the main attraction for summer cottage residents and fishermen, who find it nearly the best source for steelhead in the spring and salmon in the fall anywhere in Michigan. Hunting, camping and RV’ing are also excellent, as over half the county is contained in the Manistee National Forest.