The Nature Conservancy has long recognized the importance of America’s public lands. Americans look to our beloved landscape not only to support and enrich our lives, but also in overcoming times of crisis. From the Civil War to the Great Depression, America has turned to conservation to sustain and heal our nation.
- The Nature Conservancy has purchased and transferred more than 52,000 acres to public lands in Michigan.
- Michigan has the largest state park and state forest system in the country.
- More than 22 million people annually visit Michigan, contributing $580 million to the state's economy.
Today, the Conservancy supports policy initiatives such as America’s Great Outdoors and urges a permanent commitment to the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Of course, the Conservancy also has a long history of working with local, state and federal entities to establish and expand popular and iconic places. While the sites below represent only a fraction of our projects in Michigan, we hope these highlights will inspire you to explore and protect our great outdoors.
After all, this land is your land.
Places the Conservancy has helped protect might be as near as your favorite local park. A good example is in Boyne City where the Conservancy’s purchase of 300 acres is now a park that also includes three major wells that provides drinking water for the city. In Petoskey, the Conservancy’s purchase of six acres served as a “seed” to Bear River, a popular 30-acre river front park in the city.
Learn more about Boyne City
Learn more about Bear River
Tip of the Keweenaw
The Keweenaw Peninsula is one of our state’s most recognizable natural features, dramatically stretching 60 miles into Lake Superior. More than 11 miles of Great Lakes shoreline at the tip of Copper Country now belongs to the public since the Conservancy transferred 6,275 acres to the State of Michigan in 2003. The land provides habitat for at least 900 species of flora as well as large mammals ranging from black bear and moose to timber wolves and other wild creatures.
Camp Swampy & Federal Forests
Since the 1960s, The Nature Conservancy has purchased and transferred more than 13,000 acres to federal forests in Michigan. Camp Swampy was once used as a hunting camp for Steelcase employees and their families. Today, the 1,017-acre property is now open to the public since The Nature Conservancy purchased and transferred most of the land to the United States Forest Service in 2007. Another 151 acres is now a public campground managed by the Newaygo County Parks and Recreation Commission.
Learn more about the United States Forest Service
Learn more about the Newaygo County Parks and Recreation Commission
Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
Enrolling the Conservancy’s Erie Marsh Preserve into this federally protected area doubled the size of the Refuge to more than 4,000 acres in this urban waterway connecting the US to Canada. More than 3 million birds fly annually through this passage and may stop to rest and refuel during migration at places like Calf Island, which the Conservancy transferred in 2002 to North America’s first-ever International Wildlife Refuge.
Learn more about the Refuge