Pristine Lands Protected at Bete Grise Preserve

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One hundred eighty one acres of pristine coastal land including 1.7 miles of Lake Superior shore along Keweenaw Bay in Grant Township, Keweenaw County, are forever protected thanks to a multi-year effort by our partners at the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District culminating in last Friday’s land acquisition.

These lands add to the 1,493 acres of high-quality wetlands, relict sand dune uplands, and two-thirds of a mile of shoreline frontage on Lac La Belle (a freshwater estuary of Lake Superior), previously acquired in December 2012 under phase one of this grant project. Together, these acquisitions effectively double the size of the existing Bete Grise Preserve and significantly advance the locally-driven initiative to protect the larger 8,000+ acre coastal wetland complex.

bete grise shoreBete Grise Preserve contains an extremely high number and diverse mix of plant and animal species in a wide variety of habitats including Great Lakes Marsh, wooded dune and swale and a rare type of wetland called a patterned fen. Wildlife species calling this area home include eagles (Bald and Golden), sandhill cranes, moose, wolf, and black bear. The land will be equally enjoyed by citizens from Michigan and elsewhere as it will be open to the public for passive recreation including hiking, berry-picking, and simply enjoying the magnificent views across Bete Grise Bay.

Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District worked tirelessly to secure these lands and, as property owner, will ensure the lands are managed for conservation purposes. This project was supported by the Coastal Zone Management Program, Office of the Great Lakes, applying financial support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative routed through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program. Project success would not have been possible without the generous support provided by the J.A. Woollam Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.

"This project protects a rich mosaic of coastal wetland habitats, Lake Superior shoreline, and 3,500 feet of formerly private Lac La Belle sloughs for thousands of native and migratory, aquatic and terrestrial species. It also provides current and future generations with permanent access to beaches, fishing, kayaking and canoe waters, roadside parks, berry picking spots, picnic areas and one of the most beautiful scenic drives anywhere," said Gina Nicholas, Chairperson, Board of Directors for the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District.

The Michigan Coastal Zone Management Program provides grant funds to assist in the development of vibrant and resilient coastal communities through the protection and restoration of our sensitive coastal resources and biologically diverse ecosystems. The goal of the program is to promote wise management of the cultural and natural resources within our coastal boundary by fostering environmental stewardship, furthering research to support science-based policies and regulations, and providing excellent customer service. Funding for the program is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through a state and federal partnership established under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972.

For additional information please contact Matt Warner, Michigan Coastal Zone Management Program, at 517-284-5051 or

[Note sent June 27, 2013]

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