One of Michigan’s iconic and wild rivers is in peril. A map of the Pere Marquette watershed shows a patchwork of protected private and public properties with large stretches of at-risk private land. Uncontrolled development along the river presents numerous threats to the health of the river and wildlife that depends on it. These threats include pollution, stream-bank erosion, invasive species, and other issues that put the wild and natural qualities of the river and the watershed in jeopardy. We believe there is a solution.
By working with families on the Pere Marquette River to create conservation agreements, and by completing land acquisitions, the land along the river will remain undeveloped for enjoyment by paddlers, anglers, hikers, and people like you. Local tourism will thrive, life will flourish in the crystal waters and everyone can delight in a wild river nearby. By legally protecting high-priority lands along the river, the quality of the watershed can be saved forever.
For sixty miles in Northern Michigan, the main branch of the Pere Marquette runs clear and sparkling, teaming with trout, noisy with the whistling and chirping of birds, and busy with the playing of otters. It is a wild and beautiful place where fly lines dance over the water, paddlers glide between wooded shorelines and you can catch a glimpse of one of Michigan’s wild treasures.
The Pere Marquette is truly a special place. It has been designated by the state as a Natural River and a Blue Ribbon Trout Stream and federally designated as a Wild and Scenic River. There are no dams on the main branch of the river, making it the only free-flowing river in the entire Lake Michigan watershed. With tributaries included, there are over 300 miles of stream. The watershed is home to many species of mammals, birds, fish, and other wildlife, including the endangered Karner blue butterfly.
The goal of the Pere Marquette Wild campaign is to raise a total of $1.5 million from a mixture of grants and private donations in order to add 10 more miles of protected river frontage along the Pere Marquette River. Over the past 15 years, the Land Conservancy has worked with landowners to protect thousands of acres and over 18 miles of river frontage. But thousands more acres remain threatened and we need your help. Together, we can ensure that the uninterrupted stretches of the Pere Marquette are our legacy to the future.
This project is made possible with support from the Carls Foundation, the Community Foundation for Mason County, the Charles R. Evenson Foundation, the Lake County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Fremont Area Community Foundation, and Fremont Area Community Foundation.