TNC completes land acquisition in Keweenaw

What's happening: The Nature Conservancy has purchased 9,769 acres of the Keweenaw Heartlands, an expansive forest system in the Copper Country. The purchase completes a 32,000-acre area that will remain open under the Michigan Commercial Forest Program. That program keeps the land on local tax rolls and opens up the area for increased tourism and outdoor recreation like trail networks. 

How it happened: After struggling to purchase the fourth parcel of the original acquisition offer, a private third party assisted. Serving as a middle man, the third party bought the fourth parcel and then sold it to The Nature Conservancy in the spirit of nature conservation. All four parcels were originally owned by land development company TNG before a land swap was suggested in 2018.

What they're saying: “I want to sincerely thank the conservation buyer who saw the value in protecting this land and shared our vision for the Keweenaw Heartlands,” said Helen Taylor, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan. “Protecting the Keweenaw Heartlands is a global priority for The Nature Conservancy, and I am thrilled we finalized this purchase so everyone can enjoy and appreciate these iconic lands and waters forever.”

Conserving the area: Because of its numerous water systems, forests and shorelines, the Keweenaw Peninsula has some of the most biodiverse areas in all of Michigan. From insects and songbirds to gray wolves, sturgeon and black bears, many species of animals call the Keweenaw home. In addition to the year-round flora and fauna, the peninsula on a peninsula is a key spot for many migratory birds and insects like monarch butterflies. 

What's next: The Nature Conservancy will pair up with the community and Michigan Department of Natural Resources to form a community stakeholder committee. More than 20 community leaders, including elected officials, representatives from the outdoor recreation and tourism industries, tribal leaders and more will be able to give their feedback on the land management.