KEWEENAW COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – The Nature Conservancy (TNC) announced Thursday it will acquire 31,000 acres of land in the Keweenaw Peninsula in a two-part purchase expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

TNC has closed on the purchase of 22,700 acres from the Rohatyn Group and has entered into a purchase agreement to acquire an additional 8,900 acres in the coming months. The 22,700 were sold for a total of $22.7 million TNC says the land will remain available for public use.

“The Keweenaw Peninsula is at the heart of one of the most beautiful and culturally significant landscapes in Michigan, rich with forests, wildlife, cascading rivers, lakes, and wetlands,” said Helen Taylor, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan. “It is an honor to partner with the local community, the State of Michigan, and generous supporters to purchase these acres, protecting the land so it can be enjoyed by people for generations to come. We thank TRG for providing the opportunity to protect these lands.”

TNC posted the following map of the land being acquired through the purchase.

Photo provided by The Nature Conservancy

Additional aerial shots of the area have been posted here.

TNC added the following information about the purchase in a release:

This purchase ensures everyone can enjoy and appreciate these iconic lands and waters forever and assure sustainable management of its lush forests continues. 

Formed from one-billion-year-old lava flows and shaped by glacial ice and the waves of the largest freshwater lake in the world – Lake Superior – the Keweenaw Peninsula is one of the most unfragmented, climate resilient forested and freshwater areas of the central United States. It is an area recognized by The Nature Conservancy as a global priority for both biodiversity and climate resiliency, and an opportunity to protect an extraordinary region for both nature and people. 

In addition to the purchase of the Keweenaw Heartlands, TNC has secured funding to support a community visioning process, led by Rural Economic Success (RES) Associates’ John Molinaro.  To date RES has conducted nearly 60 one-on-one interviews with local leaders, conducted public meetings engaging more than 300 residents and nearly 2,000 people completed surveys to understand what they value most about this land.

TNC says a key aspect of the acquisition is protecting the area’s native wildlife, including gray wolf, bobcat, black bear, pine marten, and migratory songbird populations.

TNC will also acquire the land’s mineral rights, trails and historical structures. The land will remain open to the public under the Michigan Commercial Forest Program and on community tax rolls.