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Protected Lands

Paint River Lower Hemlock Rapids
Conservation Easement

 
 

Acres: 65
Established: 2012
County: Iron
Category: Private Conservation Easement

Located adjacent to the Lower Hemlock Rapids on the Paint River, this 65-acre property contains high quality natural riparian land with a diversity of forested and wetland habitats. These forested riparian lands provide visual screening to enhance scenic enjoyment of the river, shade and cover for fish, and critical water quality protection for the river by preventing warming and sedimentation and serving as a natural filter for nutrients that might otherwise degrade water quality. Large diameter riverbank trees provide nesting and roosting perches for birds of prey like bald eagle, red-shouldered hawk, and osprey. Rock ledges and overhanging logs at the river edge provide habitat for aquatic invertebrates, waterfowl, turtles, and otter, among other species.

In addition to the high quality riparian areas, the property is noteworthy for its diversity of biologically rich ecosystem found on the steep slopes that drain to the river. Mature hardwood and conifer forests contain native species including white cedar, balsam fir, spruce, ash, birch, and red maple, providing thermal cover for fur-bearing mammals. The forests exhibit structural and age diversity, a multi-story canopy, and contain standing snags that provide additional habitat for birds and insects. Rocky outcrops and seasonal areas of standing water punctuate the forested wetlands, adding niche habitat biodiversity. Spring seeps emanate from the hillside above the river, acting as a source of cool freshwater to the Paint River and habitat for boreal plants that require cool microclimates.

While the property remains private and off limits to the public, the Paint River is a navigable public waterway for kayak and canoe trips. The upper reaches of the river are designated as National Wild and Scenic and a 70-mile stretch that includes the 0.6 mile portion flowing along the property is under consideration for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic river program. Please be respectful of the landowners if you choose to paddle through this stretch and do not trespass on their land.

 

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