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Protected Lands

Mason Nature Area

 

Acres: 1
Established: 2011
County: Houghton
Category: Public Nature Area

A touch of nature close to home is the result of a generous bequest from Marilyn Mason. Marilyn was inspired by the land protection, stewardship and education efforts of the Keweenaw Land Trust. When KLT was presented with an opportunity to expand our protected lands in a priority conservation area along what is now called the Copper Country Trail National Byway, Marilyn stepped up with a major financial gift that helped us establish the Boston Pond Preserve in honor of a dear friend and long-time KLT member.

Upon her passing in 2011, Marilyn provided another generous gift to the community - this time in her own backyard. Marilyn and her husband Richard, a professor at Michigan Tech, made their home in Houghton and owned a block of lots across the street that provided them the serenity of nature close to home. Marilyn has entrusted those lots to the KLT to remain forever a natural refuge in the city - a place where all members of the community, especially children, can find not only refuge, but also a place to observe, explore and learn to love the natural world. The proceeds from the sale of her home provided long-term support for the project and a gift to Copper Country Audubon, with whom KLT will work to care for the Mason Nature Area.

In 2016, the Keweenaw Land Trust and Copper Country Audubon assisted the City of Houghton in establishing the Central Houghton Greenspace Park, which adds another 3.5 acres of public woods to the existing KLT nature area. Funds left by Marilyn to benefit the nature area were used to leverage a DNR Trust Fund grant to purchase the property. Together these two properties encompass almost the entirety of the block, protecting a significant natural area for local wildlife and creating a unique recreational asset to benefit our community. Dense cedars stretch across the entire natural area, as well as other northern hardwood species and a giant white pine that stands tall over the property. The Scales Creek Lava Flow is visible along both the Mason Nature Area and Central Houghton Greenspace Park and provides insight into the region's rich geological history.

The Mason Nature Area is nestled right in the heart of Houghton on Franklin Street, just above E. South Avenue. The City of Houghton constructed a parking area near the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Franklin Street that serves both the Greenspace Park and Mason Nature Area. A short trail leads you through the property and into the shared natural space. Please respect others, pick up any trash you see, and keep your dog leashed during your visit. Remember, take only photos, leave only footprints.

 

 

 

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