The Border Lakes Area is a 24,000-acre expanse of forests, wetlands, lakes, and streams along Wisconsin’s northern boundary with Michigan. It is part of a much larger ecosystem that contains two major river systems, a number of untouched glacial lakes, and some of the highest-quality old growth northern hardwood and hemlock forests remaining in the Midwest. This ecosystem, the Ontonagon-Presque Isle Watershed, spans more than 1.2 million acres from northeastern Wisconsin across the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the Lake Superior shoreline.
Border Lakes contains the headwaters of the Presque Isle and Ontonagon rivers along with more than 100 lakes connected by a complex network of high quality wetlands and streams. These waters include numerous aquatic habitats and a diverse assemblage of native fish and other wildlife.
The area links the one-million-acre Ottawa National Forest in Michigan with the 220,000-acre Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest in Wisconsin. As such, Border Lakes serves as a corridor for wide-ranging mammals including timber wolves, the American marten, and moose.
Our Conservation Goals
Conserving large blocks of forestland by protecting them from fragmentation and development. Working with others to ensure that forests are managed sustainably using the most current science. Preventing the spread of invasive species like emerald ash borer. Protecting water quality in lakes and streams within the area.
How We Work
The Conservancy is working with local landowners and communities to maintain and restore the area’s lands and waters in a way that benefits the vitality of habitats, native plants, wildlife and the local economy. Here are some examples of how we work:
- Permanently protecting the forest from fragmentation and development by acquiring land from willing sellers and generous donors and negotiating conservation easements (voluntary legal agreements that permanently limit the present and future development/uses of a piece of land while keeping it in private ownership).
- Sharing information with landowners about the ecological significance of the natural resources in the area and the various land-management options that would promote sustainability.
- Removing and preventing the spread of invasive species and improving water quality to support healthy populations of wildlife.
Working as a Community Member
Local community concerns are important to us. Some of the ways we “give back” to the community include:
- Opening our preserves to the public for recreational activities;
- Focusing on protection efforts that will assure clean water in lakes and streams;
- Preserving some of the most pristine and biologically unique areas for generations to enjoy!