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Protected Lands

George Hite Dunes and Marshes Preserve

 

Acres: 360
Established: 2003
County: Keweenaw
Category: Public Nature Area (KLT Conservation Easement)

This conservation easement of 360 acres includes about 40 acres of Lake Superior coastal dunes and protects ancient bedrock, two small lakes, forested ridges, numerous ponds, swales, and marshes, and Owl Creek, which empties into Lake Superior. Ten acres are designated as "critical dunes" under the Michigan Sand Dunes Protection and Management Program that established protective standards for the most sensitive dunes in the state. The Preserve hosts pine-drops (Pterospora andromedea), a plant that grows in association with white pine and a root-symbiotic fungus and is listed as a threatened species in Michigan.

Located about 2.5 miles southwest of Eagle Harbor near Great Sand Bay, the Preserve is named for George Hite, a resident of Eagle Harbor who provided matching funds to help purchase the property from a private landowner. The Preserve is an outstanding example of how citizens, local and state governments, and conservation organizations can work together to achieve common goals. Eagle Harbor Township began a land protection program years ago, and was able to acquire this site with funding from the Michigan Coastal Management Program and the generosity of Mr. Hite. The KLT holds a conservation easement as an added layer of permanent protection, to help not only protect the land, but the public investment for conservation. The Preserve is adjacent to other land protected by Eagle Harbor Township and the Redwyn Dunes Nature Sanctuary owned by the Michigan Nature Association.

Dunes & Marshes is open to the public for non-motorized recreation. A loose network of woodland hiking and cross-country ski trails traverses the nature area, helping connect the trails at Redwyn Dunes with the established trails maintained by Eagle Harbor Township. Parking is available at the public pull-off on M-26 across from Great Sand Bay.

 

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