Keep the U.P. Wild is working to save the Upper Peninsula’s vast wilderness. Learn all about this campaign and how you can help support this nonprofit that works with more than 100 supporting Michigan-based organizations.
Last summer, a movement began across the state to “Keep the U.P. Wild” by seeking federal Wilderness designation for four tracts of public land in the western Upper Peninsula: The Trap Hills and the Ehlco Area in Ontonagon County, Norwich Plains in Ottawa National Forest and an addition to the existing Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness area.

Together, the Trap Hills, Ehlco area and Norwich Plains would create a nearly contiguous National Wilderness area of more than 40,000 acres. The 2,000-acre addition to the 16,744-acre Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness would create a contiguous Wilderness area of almost 19,000 acres. These areas are home to black bear, white-tailed deer, wolves, beavers and moose.

Related Read: Searching for more news and adventures from the U.P.? Visit our Michigan’s Upper Peninsula page. 

The Keep the U.P. Wild coalition is comprised of more than 100 environmental, outdoor recreation, academic, political, religious and business organizations, including mainstays like the Michigan Environmental Council, Northwood Alliance and Michigan Audubon.

The “Wilderness” designation they’re seeking is the highest level of protection for public, federal land. It’s reserved for the most special natural places; areas that, in the words of the 1964 Wilderness Act, are “untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

Preserving these areas will ensure a continuous revenue stream for the region and will forever enshrine them for recreation like hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, birdwatching, kayaking, canoeing and snowshoeing.

“As our population and associated development increase, the demand for resources on public lands will also increase. But so will the need to escape the stresses of an increasingly urbanized world,” says retired Ottawa National Forest Wilderness Ranger Doug Welker of Alston. “Action now will help ensure that those refuges will be available.”

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Photo(s) by Keep the UP Wild