Department of Natural Resources
Natural areas occur on public and private lands and may be legally dedicated by state or federal statute, or recognized by public agencies, conservation organizations, private corporations, or individuals. Together these areas comprise a larger statewide system of natural areas which helps to protect, preserve, and restore Michigan's and the Great Lakes Region's natural heritage.
Areas that have retained the best examples of Michigan's native landscapes, ecosystems, natural communities or scenic qualities are recognized throughout Michigan as natural areas. Features used to identify natural areas include: size, uniqueness, pristine nature, aesthetic or scenic qualities, and outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation. To be legally dedicated, natural areas must also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, scenic, or natural history value. Many areas also have populations of endangered and threatened species.