Looking downstream in a shallow forested river with water rippling over rocks.
Slate River Located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. © TNC

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The Nature Conservancy Acquires More Than 10,000 Acres in Upper Peninsula

Protection of more than 10,000 acres in western U.P. provides a myriad of benefits to both people and nature.

The Nature Conservancy is thrilled to announce the acquisition of more than 10,000 acres, known as the Slate River Timberlands, in the Upper Peninsula’s spectacular Michigamme Highlands area.

From towering hemlock trees to free-flowing rivers, the Slate River Timberlands are rich, diverse, and stunningly beautiful—the result of decades of care and thoughtful management, TNC leaders report. 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, according to their state director.

“We are thrilled that we were able to acquire the Slate River Timberlands,” notes Helen Taylor, state director in Michigan for TNC. “Our science has identified this area as some of the most resilient land in Michigan, meaning it can sustain natural diversity in the face of a changing climate. Opportunities to conserve such large areas of intact, mature forest lands don’t come along every day. It’s one of many important steps toward a healthy, thriving future for U.P. forests and the communities that depend on them.”

Opportunities to conserve such large areas of intact, mature forest lands don’t come along every day.

State Director in Michigan

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, she said. 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. 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.

“This property has been superbly managed,” said Emily Clegg, project manager, forest conservation for TNC. “The forest is beautiful, full of classic mature native species of trees, thoughtfully managed with care over generations. 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.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. Learn more online at nature.org/michigan

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.