Sturgeon River land should be preserved as green space

Hats off to the Superior Watershed Partnership Land Conservancy for the work the organization is doing in preserving and opening to the public a small tract of western Upper Peninsula property along the Sturgeon River.

The SWP has launched an international campaign with Canada to raise $2.1 million to complete the purchase of the property that includes whitewater rapids, waterfalls, old-growth forest, granite cliffs and more.

The SWPLC is a local nonprofit organization and a regional leader in Great Lakes protection and restoration. The property at issue is a 944-acre parcel that includes over 21,000 linear feet of riverfront property. The Sturgeon River flows south into the Menominee River before the merged waters reach Green Bay on Lake Michigan.

The property is currently in private hands but the property owner, described as a strong conservationist, has requested that the SWPLC maintain the property in perpetuity. Once the purchase is complete, the property will be open to the public. SWPLC plans hiking trails, kayak launches and environmental education kiosks.

Successful land management is always a balance between business interests — in the Upper Peninsula, that usually means forest products and/or minerals extraction — and maintaining green space for public use.

SWPLC control of this small tract is a nod in that direction.