With a myriad of wildlife habitats, an extensive trail system, and substantial river frontage, Upper Manistee Headwaters: The Milock Family Preserve (UMHP) is one of the most impressive protected areas in all of northern Michigan. Now, the Conservancy has an opportunity to expand the protection of this incredible place with a 70-acre addition.
Situated directly west of the nature preserve, the proposed addition provides a critical natural buffer to safeguard the UMHP’s sensitive habitats. Enormous white pines tower over the property, which predominantly consists of dry-mesic northern forest with forested bog and northern shrub swamp habitat along the Manistee River.
With close to 770 feet of frontage along the river’s north branch, a state-designated Natural River and a high-quality trout stream, the protection of this parcel also preserves water quality and stream habitat in the beloved Manistee River watershed.
While ecological surveys are currently underway, experts believe the property likely supports a diverse array of flora and fauna, similar to its neighboring preserve. Considering UMHP ranks among the most ecologically significant and rare habitats in the state, protection of this addition would enhance the preserve’s exceptional biodiversity and natural wetlands. Wetlands are some of the most important yet fragile ecosystems in the world; they provide food and habitat for an immense variety of wildlife, safeguard water quality, protect communities from flooding, sequester carbon from the atmosphere, and more.
A globally rare natural feature known as a heron rookery was discovered nearby on Perch Lake, suggesting that the property may be crucial to the bird’s nesting success. Sensitive to any disturbance, Great Blue Herons typically build their nesting colonies near undeveloped rivers, lakes, and ponds and often forage in nearby wetlands.