American Marten (Martes americana)

Michigan History

According to records, the American marten was eliminated from Michigan around the 1930s. Removal of the mature evergreen forests and unregulated harvest of martens reduced the species to small populations in the Upper Peninsula. These eventually disappeared from the state. The 1927-28 Biennial Report stated, "They (marten and fisher) are so nearly exterminated in Michigan that there appears no chance they will ever come back." Recovery efforts were initiated as early as 1958 with releases of captured martens into the Upper Peninsula Porcupine Mountains. Additional releases in the UP were conducted in the 1970s. As part of the continued efforts to restore this native species, a translocation of 40 martens from the Chapleau Crown Game Preserve in Canada to the Mackinac State Forest area of northern Michigan occurred in 1985.

Biologists have followed their progress over the years tracking pine martens to learn about their habitat use and home range needs. These studies along with sighting reports from hunters and other recreationists and incidental catches indicated the martens were readapting to their native Michigan.

During the review of the current Endangered Species List, biologists felt the population has recovered enough to upgrade its status. Martens are frequently becoming a part of the outdoor experience in Michigan with more and more encounters reported by hikers, campers, trappers, and hunters.

Once gone, the martens have returned home due to the efforts of many private organizations and agencies, but especially due to the support given by the donations of Michigan's taxpayers to the nongame income tax checkoff.

Non-DNR Links