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Places We Protect

Slate River Forest

Michigan

A forest of trees in autumn. The color of their leaves are just beginning to change.
Slate River Late successional forest management in the Michigamme Highlands of Michigan. © TNC

A Treasure of Conservation

Comprising 10,550 acres of forestland in Baraga County, Slate River Forest provides a compelling story of what a thriving future could look like for Michigan's Upper Peninsula forests. Contact us at 517-316-0300 to help support our vision for this preserve.

Overview

Description

From towering hemlock trees to free-flowing rivers, the Slate River Forest is rich, diverse, and stunningly beautiful—the result of decades of care and thoughtful management. Owned by the same family for nearly 60 years, the magnificent forests that exist today are the direct result of three generations of careful stewardship; a legacy TNC is committed to honoring and continuing.

Our science has shown that this area is some of the most resilient land in Michigan, meaning it can sustain natural diversity in the face of a changing climate. Conserving these large areas of intact, mature forest lands are an important step toward a healthy, thriving future for Upper Peninsula forests and the communities that depend on them.

Access

Limited Access

Location

Baraga County

Map with marker: Detailed map of Baraga County, Michigan.

Highlights

Hemlock, red pine, aspen, wildlife, waterfalls, rivers, gorges

Size

10,550 acres

Explore our work in this region

Colorful fungi grows on a tree
Forest Diversity Hemlock, red pine, aspen and a diversity of hardwoods grow in abundance in Slate River Forest. © TNC
A waterfall rushes into a calm river. The area is surrounded by towering trees.
Slate River The forest includes four miles of the Slate River, which flows into Lake Superior. © Rich Tuzinsky

Background    

The Slate River Forest had been managed as healthy, mature working forest for decades by the same family. When they decided to sell it, we knew this incredible protection opportunity was too important for TNC to pass up: Michigan forests like this are rare.

The seller accepted our bid, and we closed on the property in November 2021. TNC is establishing it as our newest working forest reserve, which allows us to continue to demonstrate good stewardship practices that sequester carbon and sustain the vitality and diversity of the forest. It also ensures that this forest will never be subject to unsustainable timber harvesting and forest conversion.

Our goal is to continue that management as it benefits wildlife, supports the local timber economy and helps the forest remain healthy despite the stressors of a changing climate.

Project Manager, Forest Conservation

Vision for the Future

TNC’s vision for this amazing place is to conserve and protect the beautiful woods and waters while continuing the careful management of forest resources. More than 10,000 acres of one of the highest-quality managed native forests known to be left in Michigan, this site is an important source of natural climate solutions, given the carbon stored in towering hemlocks, maple and hardwood trees.

It protects several streams flowing directly to Lake Superior, including almost four miles of the Slate River with cascades, waterfalls and an extraordinary gorge as well as three miles of the Ravine River.

Conservation Corridor

The property’s proximity to other protected lands, including Craig Lake State Park, the McCormick Wilderness and TNC’s Wilderness Lakes Reserve, also contributes to large stretches of habitat that wide-ranging species such as moose and deer need to thrive.

A river runs through a forest of towering trees.
A whitetail deer stands in a field of tall grass.
Two moose gallop through a body of water surrounded by forests.
Forest surrounds Wagner Lake. The trees are covered in brightly colored, autumn leaves.
A river runs through a forest of diverse trees in the summer.

Explore More of Our Protected Lands

From shifting sand dunes to granite bald mountains, explore our preserves and reserves spread across the state of Michigan.