CALUMET, Mich. (WJMN) – The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Board recommended providing $300,000 towards developing access to Houghton-Douglass Falls.
The falls are Michigan’s tallest waterfall. If Michigan’s Legislature approves the funding, preliminary design work and community engagement will begin.
“This announcement from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board is the most significant step forward of the Houghton-Douglass waterfall project since the property purchase by the State of Michigan,” said Tom Tikkanen, Houghton County Commissioner. “This critical design process will allow development of this most unique natural and historical resource into one of Michigan’s premier destination landmarks. This will be a great benefit to the Houghton County community.”
Houghton-Douglass Falls are located near Calumet. The falls are 110 feet vertically and fed by Hammel Creek. They fall into a canyon with high rock walls. According to the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau, records suggest the falls were named for cousins Douglass Houghton (former state geologist of Michigan) and Columbus Douglass.
The waterfall has been a popular site for locals to visit but safety concerns and overuse led to the closure of public access in the mid 2010s. The Michigan DNR purchased the property in 2018 to preserve the site and eventually develop public access. Once trust fund allocations are approved by the legislature, the DNR will begin community outreach to inform the design of the site.
“Houghton-Douglass Falls really is one of the most impressive sites in the Upper Peninsula,” said Brad Barnett, executive director of the Keweenaw Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Its one of those places that just makes you feel small in comparison the Keweenaw’s wilderness. Allowing visitors to safely and respectfully experience this site will mean a lot to the area’s businesses and visitor economy.”