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Current Projects

The Keweenaw Land Trust has numerous ongoing land conservation and stewardship projects. In trying to be effective with our efforts and limited resources, we have identified several strategic conservation areas that build on past successes and others that take us in some new directions. As a community partner, we are responsive to the concerns of citizens and a shared vision for our landscape, and we prioritize our land protection program to contribute to the quality of life in our area in a positive way.

Family Land Programs

The Keweenaw Land Trust continues to assist individual families in protecting and preserving their land for future generations through land donations and bequests, and the creation of conservation easements.

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The Hancock-Calumet Corridor/National Scenic Byway

This area is close to much of our region's population and hosts large portions of undeveloped and contiguous land providing wildlife habitat and is important to the health of our watersheds. Scenic vistas and natural habitats are varied in this corridor, including family farms, upland forests, and high elevation wetlands that feed creeks and streams draining into the Portage and Lake Superior. The stretch of US-41 from the Portage Lift Bridge to Copper Harbor is a State Heritage Route and was recently designated as a National Scenic Byway called The Copper Country Trail. This is quite fitting as this highway forms the spine of the Keweenaw Peninsula and travels through beautiful country, while retracing much of the history of copper mining in the Keweenaw as evidenced by the many historic sites and structures along the way. The National Scenic Byway program is intended to promote tourism - we would like to see land resources along the Byway protected and managed well to accomplish important conservation goals as well as contribute to our region's tourism economy. The two should go hand in hand.

The Trust intends to build on the success of the Paavola Wetlands Preserve and progress with conservation easement projects in this corridor to protect more land and provide new opportunities for public access and recreation. We are cultivating relationships with partner organizations and supportive individuals sharing this vision to build an effective conservation strategy for the Hancock-Calumet Corridor. Meanwhile, volunteer stewards are adding and improving trails at the Paavola Wetlands Preserve and our staff is facilitating public school groups to use the Preserve as an outdoor classroom.

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Heritage Apples

The Heritage Apples Program is a multi-year joint effort of the Keweenaw County Historical Society and the Keweenaw Land Trust aimed at caring for the apple trees of historic Central and encouraging stewardship and preservation of old apple trees and heritage apple varieties throughout the Keweenaw region. The Paavola Preserve homestead site also has some tasty heritage apples in the near-by orchard that KLT hopes to put to good use next season.

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Inland Lakes Initiative

KLT has received several potential project referrals and inquiries from landowners with extensive undeveloped property on inland lakes in our service area. Recognizing an emerging opportunity, KLT launched an Inland Lakes Initiative that uses the powerful tool of conservations easements to protect habitats and ensure that future development is limited and in keeping with a property's conservation values. Currently, two inland lake easement projects on private properties within the Ottawa National Forest are in progress and other projects are currently being explored.

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Keweenaw Bay/Sturgeon River

This priority area has emerged as an opportunity to build on conservation and stewardship successes along the Sturgeon River watershed and within Keweenaw Bay. The riparian and shoreline conservation goals together contribute to watershed and fishery health, providing an opportunity to build formal partnerships with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, MDNRE, NRCS, Trout Unlimited and private land owners.

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Lightfoot Bay - Coastal Wetlands Preserve

In partnership with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, The Great Lakes Fishery Trust, the Superior Watershed Partnership, Copper Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited, The Baraga Conservation District, and state and federal agencies, KLT has helped secure funding to support protection of rare and significant coastal wetland habitats on Huron Bay in Baraga County. Currently, project details and property transactions are carefully being worked out to accomplish several phases of this project during 2007 and 2008. Our partnership has secured funding through the National Coastal Wetland Conservation program to acquire a 50-acre parcel with a natural embayment and diverse coastal wetland and upland habitats to establish a new preserve. This property includes some historic log cabins that will be improved for use by visiting scientists and preserve stewards, and eventually be made available for leave no trace overnight recreational use. We will share more of the details of this project as soon as the first phase of the project is formally completed.

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LSSI Educational Partnerships

Through partnerships with the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, the KLT is connecting students with the outdoors.

Students from CJ Sullivan Elementary School explored the varied habitats at the Lightfoot Bay preserve and created an informational history booklet for future cabin users. Teams from E.B. Holman School in cooperation with MTU Forestry Students, are monitoring vegetation plots at the Marsin Nature Retreat. A walking guide to the vegetation and habitat found along the trails of the Paavola Preserve was developed by Hancock Middle School Students who also held an open house event for Barkell Elementary school students and families at the Preserve. An on-going project of Hancock High School's P.E.A.K. class has been to monitor the water quality at Boston Pond.

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Manitou Island Light Station Preserve

KLT is working to keep this piece of our maritime and national history alive and well. Following many years of neglect prior to the transfer of this property to the KLT, our volunteer work teams are making steady progress stabilizing the historic structures. One goal is to have the facilities safe and useable for ongoing activities related to the Manitou Island Bird Survey, for volunteer "Lightkeeper" stewards, and possibly for an artist in residency program, as well as available for tours by the public and organized groups. There is still a lot of work to be done, with priority to tighten up structures to deal with the storms Lake Superior regularly throws at this Light Station.

The first site visit of 2007 showed that last year's work paid off, as the buildings were dry and the musty air of past years was no more. Planning for work trips is ongoing, and we could use help. Do you have a powerboat that could transport people and supplies to Manitou Island? Do you have a portable generator you could loan or give to us to help power up the work teams? Do you have carpentry skills and a desire to pitch in on a once in a lifetime project opportunity? Contact us if you are interested in getting involved at Manitou. For more information, visit the Manitou Island Light Station Preserve project page.

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The Marsin Preserve and Nature Retreat Center

This combined project represents a unique program for a small land Trust like KLT. To create a community space for events and activities to help us all connect with our natural environment, we are in the process of converting a lakeshore residence on the Portage Waterway into a Nature Retreat Center. We will need professional help and advice to make this facility accommodating for group events and user friendly for the disabled and elderly. The adjoining Preserve is getting trail improvements, with the goal to connect those trails with the Nature Retreat Center. This program has many opportunities to involve volunteers. Is your Scout troop looking for service projects? Do you want to join a team to make our vision a reality? Visit our Marsin page for more information and contact us to get involved. Become a volunteer today!

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Pilgrim River Watershed Project
Promoting sustainable forestry, natural resource protection, and public recreation and education

Just minutes from Houghton is a very large tract of undeveloped forestland, with a variety of terrain, diverse habitats and a high quality trout fishery known as the Pilgrim River. In cooperation with the Copper Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Northwood Alliance, the Copper Country Audubon Club, and the Keweenaw Trails Alliance, the KLT is helping to build community support to accomplish a conservation project to protect about 1500 acres and include more than three miles of the Pilgrim River and its tributaries. With the current private landowners as willing participants in this process, the cooperating organizations are working to gain wider community support. Portage Township was previously presented with the concept of this project and we will continue to encourage their participation as a cooperating government unit.

The primary approach we are developing involves a productive forest conservation easement-a land protection agreement that would permanently establish this property as a sustainably managed forest with public access for a wide variety of recreation, education and research uses. In addition to traditional hunting and fishing, uses would be expanded to include all forms of recreation that are compatible with sustainable forest management, which could include developing trail systems for hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and other low-impact activities.

We are currently making the case for the value of this project to our community, as it represents a tremendous opportunity for both conservation and public benefit - an opportunity that may never come again. Contact us to find out how you can support this project.

A growing gallery of Pilgrim River photos can be viewed on the Northwood Alliance webpage: http://northwoodalliance.org/pilgrim_river/pilgrim_river_photos.htm

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The Little Salmon - Trout River, Houghton County

As a member of Stanton Township's Redridge Dam/Salmon-Trout River Study Group, KLT is cultivating conservation opportunities and helping build a diverse partnership to conserve and steward this watershed. The Salmon-Trout River is an important cold water river system, draining directly in to Lake Superior. It is also of interest to the MDNRE Fisheries Division, which is leading an aquatic inventory program with KLT support. The KLT has an established conservation easement along the historic and scenic "Covered Road" in this watershed, and other easements in cultivation.

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801 N. Lincoln Dr - Suite 306 - Hancock, MI 49930     Phone: 906-482-0820