MICHIGAMME, Mich. (WJMN) – Environmental organization The Nature Conservancy (TNC) announced Monday that it has acquired over 10,000 acres of land in the Upper Peninsula. The land, known as Slate River Timberlands, is located in the Michigamme Highlands area.
TNC says it plans to continue the legacy of stewardship the area has been shown over the past nearly 60 years. Over that time, the land has been under the care of three generations of the previous owner’s family and is home to multiple streams that flow directly to Lake Superior.
“This is some of the most beautiful managed timberland I’ve ever seen,” said Rich Bowman, director of working lands for TNC. “It’s some of the most beautiful timber outside a state park that I’ve ever seen and our goal is really to continue that legacy. This property is actively managed, it’s managed primarily for more mature forests and selective harvested sawlogs, and we’re going to continue to manage it in that way.”
While much of the land is leased to be used for camps, TNC says it plans to allow most of the rest to be utilized by the public through the Commercial Forest Program. TNC also plans to have the property certified as sustainable through the Forest Stewardship Council.
“On the portions of the property that aren’t subject to a recreational lease, about half of them, roughly 1,000 acres are currently in the commercial forest program,” Bowman said. “And other acres that aren’t subject to a lease will be enrolling in the Commercial Forest Program, and those are open to the public just like any other commercial forest land, so they’re open for hunting and fishing on foot.”
The land’s diverse and rich forest, which TNC says is one of the highest quality managed native forests known to remain in the state. Its proximity to other protected lands makes it a valuable section of habitat for many animal species.
“There are some important wintering yards with the hemlock that the deer herd makes use of,” Bowman said. “We always talk about the big things we can see like the wolf and the moose and the deer, but these are really important to all kinds of species. Bird species, small mammals, even a few reptiles and amphibians, and even bugs.”
You can learn more about The Nature Conservancy and its work in Michigan here.