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Preservation Of Wildcat Falls Topic Of Public Presentation In Eagle River

Northwood Alliance

The public is invited Saturday to hear about a years-long effort to preserve an Upper Peninsula waterfalls and forest for generations to come.

Wildcat Falls, near Watersmeet,  was once protected as part of the Ottawa National Forest. This parcel was lost as a National Forest holding, but today Wildcat Falls and surrounding old growth forest is in the process of becoming a 160-acre community forest.

Northwood Alliance conservation organization spearheaded the 10-year effort to keep the property in public hands. Joe Hovel of the Alliance will discuss the Wildcat Falls Community Forest project.

Hovel says the talk is called "Tenacity Creates Opportunity"....

"...The presentation is going to give the history of the project. It's going to include our initial objection to the Forest Service trading away the property and the whole administrative and legal process we went through. Amazingly, the opportunity the long battle had created for us..."

Hovel says he will show the timeline of the project and what is in the works. He says if the parcel had not been preserved, much would have been lost...

"When you can combine old growth hemlock, cedar, white pine and hardwoods and 25 foot waterfall and a trout stream. Magnificent rock mounds and out crops forming canyon walls. Ponds, feeder streams with all the wildlife and incredible plant diversity...."

He says this type of environment can be found in other places in the U.P., but rarely in one parcel.

He says they've raised about $80,000 from local donations and foundations, but need to raise about $68,000 more to complete the project.

Hovel will speak Saturday, December 14 at 1:00 p.m. at the Walter Olson Library in Eagle River. More information is at northwoodalliance.org

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