The Nature Conservancy has finally closed on a "Big UP Deal" that took 10 years and $58 million, and will protect and limit development on 271,000 acres in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. If you're unfamiliar with the UP, it includes some of the last untouched places on Earth, and faces threats from sulfide mining.The Nature Conservancy worked with the State of Michigan to close the deal, securing conservation easements and acquisitions with The Forestland Group, which now owns the land.
The "Big UP Deal," also known as the Northern Great Lakes Forest Project, connects more than 2 million acres of wilderness in the UP. The project protects more than 660 lakes and streams, 500 miles of rivers and streams and 52,000 acres of wetlands.
"Conservation easements were purchased to ensure sustainable forestry that provides jobs while limiting future development and keeping tracts open to the public for outdoor recreation," TNC officials say. "The land will continue to remain on local tax rolls with current tax payments under the state's Commercial Forest Reserve Act."
The $58 million came from state and federal funds, private foundations and thousands of individual donors.
TNC has put together a video that tells more of the story, embedded below.
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