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Wildcat Falls Officially Protected as Community Forest

Ben Meyer/WXPR

The Upper Peninsula is known for its natural beauty.

There’s no shortage of waterfalls, unique geological features, and old growth forests.

What makes wildcat falls unique, according to Joe Hovel, is finding them all in one place.

“To find all those things in such close proximity where you can enjoy and appreciate all of those features in a short hike in less than a mile. That makes this project pretty special,” said Hovel.

Hovel is the President of Partners in Forestry Cooperative and the acting director of Northwood Alliance.

About 12 years ago, the Ottawa National Forest started the process to trade the 160-acre piece of land that included Wildcat Falls to increase acreage in other parts of the forest.

Hovel felt the unique features within the land parcel needed to be protected.

“It’s been an incredibly long and trying effort over 10 years, but I cannot envision a better final ending for this project, and we’ve accomplished with this community forest," said Hovel. 

Others clearly agreed.

“The community support has been extremely gratifying. We’ve had over 100 individuals donating between $10 and $30,000 as well as the foundation support in conservation groups. We’re extremely grateful to the community and everyone who’s contributed and helped in making this incredible project a success,” said Hovel.

Now, the Northwood Alliance is seeking community input to establish the guidelines of the community forest.

You can provide feedback on the Northwood Alliance website.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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