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High Island


  • Nominated for Legal Dedication
  • The Nature Conservancy Natural Areas Registry

Size: 3,495 acres

Location: Off the shore of Emmet County

Management: Beaver Islands State Wildlife Research Area

Activities: Hiking, wildlife viewing, hunting (There is no regularly scheduled public transportation to the island.)

Importance: High Island is one of the most beautiful islands in the state and contains both geology and biology that is unique to this earth. The island is an outcrop of limestone bedrock covered with a relatively thick layer of glacial drift. The central part of the island (a high plain) is separated from the rest by an escarpment ranging in height from a few feet to upwards of 200 or more feet. Parts of the west side of the escarpment are covered with high perched sand dunes (in excellent condition), with mostly open dune vegetation. Further west is an area of sandy beach ridges of former lake levels, which has some interesting and beautiful cedar and upland forests. The island has an array of Michigan shoreline features and associated ecosystems that support a number of rare, threatened and endangered plant and bird species.