Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a place like no other, and its most pristine places deserve our nation’s greatest protection. ELPC is proud to join the Keep the U.P. Wild coalition, working to extend Wilderness designation to key areas in the U.P. By designating areas that already lie within National Forest boundaries, we can ensure these rare and beautiful places stay pristine for our use, enjoyment, and spiritual rejuvenation — both today and for generations to come.
Together, the Ehlco area, the Trap Hills, and Norwich Plains would create a nearly contiguous National Wilderness area of more than 40,000 acres. Likewise, the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness Addition would add nearly 2,000 acres of unique pristine land to the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness, creating a total contiguous Wilderness area of almost 17,000 acres.
Wilderness designation reaps $9.4 billion a year in benefits for the American public. That’s about $85 an acre. Those economic benefits are remarkably stable, even during times of economic downturn. Michigan ranks first among the Great Lakes states for jobs created from hunting and fishing-related purchases. This generates more than $11.2 billion annually for the state and more than 171,000 jobs. Protecting these areas protects those benefits going forward.
Many incredible species call the U.P. home, including beavers, black bears, white-tailed deer, and racoons. Even rare and endangered species like timber wolves, moose, peregrine falcons, northern goshawks, and wood turtles can be found in the region’s cedar swamps and boreal forests. Healthy ecosystems support humanity’s most basic needs, like clean water, oxygen, and food security, while also helping mitigate the effects of climate change by absorbing excess carbon. Wild and natural places help communities both near and far.
Watch the video below and learn more about the coalition, the areas we’re trying to protect, and the many benefits of Wilderness designation here.