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Conservation corridor planned for Michigan’s western UP

A conservation corridor with links to existing protected areas is planned for a remote region in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula.

The nonprofit Nature Conservancy said the 6,172-acre (2,497-hectare) Wilderness Lakes Reserve in the Michigamme Highlands area is being expanded by 4,854 acres (1,964 hectares) of forest and wetlands.

The expansion will create a mostly contiguous 19,000 acres (5,689 hectares) of conserved forestland when combined with neighboring Craig Lake State Park, said Helen Taylor, state director in Michigan for The Nature Conservancy.

“Opportunities to reconnect such large areas of protected lands don’t come along every day. It’s one of many important steps toward a healthy, thriving future for U.P. forests,” Taylor said in a statement.

Wilderness Lakes Reserve is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Marquette.

Taylor said scientists have identified the area “as some of the most resilient land in Michigan that can sustain natural diversity in a changing climate.”