Groups hoping to make a community forest on land near Watersmeet, Michigan have announced a significant step forward in that process.
Wildcat Falls is a remote waterfalls about nine miles from Watersmeet. Northwood Alliance and its conservation partners were recently awarded 50 percent of the funding necessary to complete the community forest, through a successful grant from the Forest Service Community Forest and Open Space Conservation program.
Director Joe Hovel says the effort is near a decade old, as there was opposition to the Forest Service swapping the land. After appeals and court actions, in 2016 the groups purchased the land..
"...This project ranked #4 out of 15 funded projects this year. The Community Forest Grant will cover 50 percent of the cost of the acquisition of the property..."
Hovel says the 25 foot rocky waterfall is the feature of the 160 acre property that has a diverse biological base. He says nearly half of the project is old-growth cedar and hemlock woods.
Hovel says they still seeking funds to finish the project, including developing a hiking trail to the falls...
"..Our budget is $295,000, which the Forest Service grant will pay half. With over 80 donors and the help of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition, we have over $48,000 in the bank for the match. We still need to raise almost $100 ,000. We're counting on community support to help in this effort..."
For more information, there's a website at northwoodalliance.org or 715-479-8528.