The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District now has protection of over 180 acres of coastal land off Bete Grise and Lake Superior. The land includes 1,500 acres of forested wetlands and over 9,000 feet of pristine coastline at Point Isabelle.
Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District chairperson Gina Nicholas said though much of the acquisition is inland, the area at Point Isabelle is a popular spot for people to visit.
??It??s mostly wetland,?? said Nicholas. ??The road comes very close to the lake there, and it??s very scenic and kind of a favorite berry-picking, picnic view-scape for people.??
The entirety of the project was $4 million and came to fruition a decade after an original 1,800 acres of land became the Bete Grise Preserve.
Nicholas said the land recently added to the Preserve was bought from two private parties.
??There is a little county park at kind of the south end of the new acquisition of Point Isabelle that, I believe, many people always thought was a public park when, in fact, it was really on private land,?? she explained.
Nicholas said with funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Nature Conservancy, and countless other organizations, the land is officially protected and open for public use.
??Our goal is largely a conservation goal, which is to protect these natural habitats, to protect the native species,?? Nicholas said. ??We wanted to keep it open to the public because the public has been using it for over a hundred years.??