News, Culture and NPR for Central & Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
91.7FM Alpena and WCML-TV Channel 6 Alpena are off the air. Click here to learn more.

Leelanau Conservancy acquires 80 acres of old-growth forest

Palmer Woods Forest Reserve
Drew Palmer
Courtesy of Leelanau Conservancy
Palmer Woods Forest Reserve

A northern Michigan nature reserve is adding 80 acres of old-growth forest for public recreation.

The Leelanau Conservancy is meeting its $1 million fundraising goal to buy the parcel in the center of the Palmer Woods Forest Reserve outside of Maple City.

Claire Wood is the communications director with the Conservancy. She said the organization jumped on the opportunity to add the parcel, which has remained untouched despite historic logging that's affected most forests in northern Michigan.

"We've got a really high tree species biodiversity in there, including some old-growth white pines and some living ash, which is pretty rare," Wood said. "It's more thickly wooded, and it's a bit a bit more ecologically sensitive as well."

In the 19th and early 20th century, most of the state was a clear-cut "wasteland." Today, there are few remaining forests that pre-date Michigan's logging era.

Wood said the rare parcel would complete Palmer Woods and ensure the forest's protection.

"It's just been amazing to see the support, and we just are so grateful to all of the folks who have come out to help us add this really beautiful missing puzzle piece," she said.

Wood said she expects the property will be open to the public in January.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.
Related Content