northwood alliance

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.

Dan Dumas/Kim Swisher Communications

As the crow flies, Wildcat Falls near Watersmeet and the Upper Wisconsin River Legacy Forest near Land O’Lakes are only 15 miles apart, on opposite sides of the Michigan-Wisconsin border.

But in some ways, these protected places couldn’t be more different.

From one, water flows north to Lake Superior. From the other, it flows south, eventually to the Gulf of Mexico.

Huge old-growth trees dominate the area near Wildcat Falls, while a young forest supporting threatened species is common near the Upper Wisconsin River.

But they do have one thing in common.