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NFWF grants aid 73,000-acre conservation effort in Michigamme Highlands

Awards from Walmart’s Acres for America program and the Life Time Foundation will direct $1 million to the project

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation today announced $5.6 million in 10 grants through Walmart’s Acres for America program that will help to permanently protect more than 148,000 acres of wildlife habitat across nine states. The grants will leverage $107.3 million in public and private matching funds for a total conservation impact of $112.9 million.

The Acres for America program is a nearly two-decades-long partnership between NFWF and Walmart.

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NFWF also announced the support of the Life Time Foundation to conserve forests and wildlife habitat and increase access to nature. The foundation will provide a $1 million grant to support the permanent conservation of approximately 100,000 acres of North American forest to benefit the environment, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, climate resilience, public access and recreation. This effort is part of Life Time’s longstanding "Healthy People, Healthy Planet" mission.

This year’s largest project for both programs – a combined $1 million to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources – will support a roughly $20 million effort to acquire a conservation easement of more than 73,000 acres of vast forest, coldwater lakes, trout streams and wetlands in the Upper Peninsula's Michigamme Highlands. (Much of the project funding, more than $15 million, is being sought through a federalForest Legacy Program grant.)

Led by the DNR, the project will ensure sustainable forest management, offer full public recreation access, and protect and improve habitat for moose, white-tailed deer, brook trout and dozens of migratory songbird species. The project also adjoins the federal McCormick Wilderness and Craig Lake State Park.

“The acquisition of a working forest conservation easement in the Michigamme Highlands will protect critical fisheries and wildlife habitat,” said DNR Director Scott Bowen. “It will also provide for a variety of public recreation opportunities and help secure some of the most climate resilient landscape in Michigan. We are very grateful to NFWF and Walmart for supporting this effort and investing funds to help manage and protect Michigan’s treasured natural resources.”

Learn more about the Michigamme Highlands project in Baraga, Iron and Marquette counties, an effort to protect some of the most important natural geography and resources in the Great Lakes region.