Protecting Your Land

Protecting Your Land


Permanent legal protection

The only way you can ensure that the conservation values of your land will remain protected forever is to create a permanent legal arrangement. Working with the Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy can help you accomplish this. There are three main options for protecting land with UPLC: Conservation Easements, Conservation Reserves, and Conservation Preserves.

A customized approach for each property

Each property deserves an individual touch, and we will collaborate closely with you to develop a conservation strategy that best suits you, the  landowner, and your property. We hand-craft all documents to capture the unique characteristics of each tract of land to ensure that it gets the protection it requires.

The Three Most Common Methods:


1. Conservation Easements

A conservation easement is a legal agreement between you and a land conservancy that places permanent restrictions on land use.  These restrictions are in place to protect the conservation values of the property. An easement is a practical method for permanently protecting your property while still retaining ownership, including the right to sell, donate, or bequeath the land. The role of the land conservancy is to ensure that legal restrictions and stewardship rules are being upheld by the landowner.

Each easement’s restrictions are tailored to the particular property, and we strive to accommodate the interests and goals of the individual owner(s).  Conservation easements are unique and diverse. For example, some UPLC-held easements allow landowners to fish and hunt, conduct sustainable timber management, and/or maintain buildings on the easement property. Other easements do not allow for these activities, based on the vision of the original landowners.

Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy protects 24 unique conservation easements, including small Lake Superior shoreline properties in Grand Marais, deer camps near Escanaba, and large tracts of untouched forestlands in the Huron Mountains.

Granite bald and white pines in the Huron Mountains


2. Conservation Preserves (and Trade Lands)

Donating land to the Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy provides us with multiple options for conservation. If you are able to provide a monetary stewardship fund to cover activities such as annual stewardship monitoring trips and trail building, we may want to create a conservation preserve that is open to the public for low-impact activities such as hiking and photography.  As their name suggests, conservation preserves are intended to preserve the target ecosystem in a natural or near-natural state, by restricting commercial activities and allowing the environment to grow and change at its own pace.

Sometimes donated lands do not meet our criteria for use as a conservation preserve or reserve. In this case, UPLC may choose to sell the land as trade land, either with or without a conservation easement on the property. Selling donated property provides us with monetary proceeds for our Forever Fund and other general expenses, and retaining a conservation easement over the land allows us to ensure the land is still protected by the new landowner.

The Tory’s Woods Preserve is an excellent example of what we can do with donated land! In 2014, 233 acres were donated to protect a beautiful forested area within easy driving distance of Marquette. There are currently three marked trails on the Preserve, where the public can enjoy a peaceful hike.

Pond in Tory’s Woods Preserve


3. Working Forest Reserves

Land that does not have ‘high priority’ conservation value can be used as a working forest reserve. These parcels are owned by Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy, and are open to the public for non-motorized and low-impact activities. On forest reserves we utilize natural resources in a sustainable and restorative way, whether through timber harvesting or leasing the land for sustainable agricultural practices. The proceeds from these harvests support our day-to-day operations and allow us to plan ahead for future acquisitions.

Our Debelak Reserve is a delightful property with a variety of desirable timber. We have been selectively harvesting using the”Expanding Gap” silvicultural method, which allows for biodiversity restoration and an improvement of bird and wildlife habitat. Since 2010 we have also been conducting an annual breeding bird count (in early June) to monitor any changes in bird species composition due to harvesting activities.

Salamander in Debelak Reserve