WILDERNESS GUARDIANS

Organization acquiring property, partnering with landowners to preserve the U.P.

 

Story and photo by Katherine Larson
“It was 1999. A group of friends from Marquette went on a hike in the woods that ended with them sitting around a campfire, passing around a bottle, and solving the problems of the world.”
Andrea Denham, executive director of the U.P. Land Conservancy, loves to tell the story of how the organization was founded. From the talk around that campfire grew the Lake Superior Community Partnership, aimed at helping the area become economically competitive; the Noquemanon Trail Network, aimed at connecting and improving area recreation opportunities; and the U.P. Land Conservancy, aimed at preserving the land, community, and culture of the U.P.
With the UPLC coming up on its 20th anniversary in July, Denham said, “We are a grass-roots organization, volunteer-led and passion-fed.”
The group’s focus is on “working to establish permanent legal protection for ‘conservation land’ or ‘the conservation value of land’—legal terms referring to land that for various reasons is important to the way water stays clean, animals maintain their habitats, plants remain healthy, and the community enjoys the benefits of the natural ecosystem.”

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