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Protected Lands

Le Chance Creek Nature Area

 
 

Acres: 432
Established: 2016
County: Houghton
Category: Public Nature Area

With over a quarter-mile of rocky shoreline on Lake Superior and hundreds of acres of dense wetlands beyond, the Le Chance Creek Nature Area in Houghton County is a landscape to be reckoned with! Accessible only by foot or from the water, the 432-acre nature area's substantial conifer cover and wetland thickets make travel difficult for all but the most determined. These habitats provide a home to countless species of plants and animals that appreciate the property's undeveloped woodlands. The nature area lies within the East Keweenaw Deer Wintering Complex which provides food and shelter to mitigate the effects of the Keweenaw's harsh winter weather conditions. The property remains one of the few in the surrounding area to have remained unlogged for much of the past century, allowing its forests and extensive wetland ecosystems to find balance as much of the surrounding landscape is affected by man.

The Le Chance Creek Nature Area was purchased in 2016 with funding from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Joint Ventures habitat grant program, which focuses on conserving birds and their habitats throughout North America. Members of the Copper Country Audubon assisted KLT in identifying bird species found on the property, including several rare species such as the Boreal Chickadee. Migrating birds use the property to rest and resupply on their yearly migrations over Lake Superior. The property's near-shore habitat also has fishery value and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community periodically monitors this stretch of shoreline for lake sturgeon. Additionally, The Nature Conservancy highlighted this area in its 2000 Ecoregional Assessment for the property's Carex/Scirpus Sedge Meadow Marsh along Le Chance Creek, a particularly rare vegetation type in this region. Together, these and other factors helped KLT quickly find a successful conservation outcome.

Protecting this wild landscape would not have been possible without the vision and generosity of the landowners, Larry Carroll and Mary Haller, who provided substantial grant matching funds, including a bargain sale to KLT. The property is now open to the public for non-motorized, low-impact recreation, including hiking, bird watching, fishing, hunting, paddling, and rustic camping along the shoreline. KLT has no intention of developing the interior of the property to keep this special place intact. A small water trail campsite will be established along the cobble shoreline in the summer of 2017. The property can be accessed by foot through the adjacent Michigan DNR land to the south, or by water via paddle craft.

 

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