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Thank You for Supporting the

The Dead River
Community Forest Project

The Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy, with the help of US Forest Service Community Forest Program, The Nature Conservancy, several foundations such as the Marquette Community Foundation,

local businesses, and hundreds of individuals like you,

raised $250,000 over the last 5 years to purchase the 186.5-acre properties known collectively as

the Dead River Community Forest!

While we still have about $50,000 left to raise to ensure perpetual protection and provide public recreation and educational opportunities, we are thrilled to announce that we have closed on the purchase of the lands as of October 2022.

DRCF Postcard (1).png
we thank you
for re
fraining from exploring the land
until new trails and Necessary infrastructure

Respecting the land in this way will prevent the accidental creation of confusing “curiosity trails,” protect clean water from sedimentation and slopes from erosion. Future trails will be designed to provide directed access AND protect sensitive plants, animals, and soils.

Even a small handful of individuals wandering can have long-lasting impacts that will be difficult and expensive for us to repair.  

With a generous kick-starter grant from Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition 

and additional support from the Ray and Peg Hirvonen Foundation,

we are one step closer to establishing sustainable infrastructure and trails

to welcome you onto the land

Fall is in the Air at Dead River

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Please consider including the Dead River Community Forest trails in your financial and volunteer plans for this year! We sincerely appreciate your continued support in creating this beautiful community forest along the Dead River.

New to this neck of the woods? 

You know and love the DRCF...


We need your help funding the creation of signage and construction of trails! 

UPLC is working with community members- that's you!- and the NMU Center for Native American Studies to draft culturally-considerate signage and and land management recommendations for traditional and educational uses of the property. We want your input on how you plan to recreate, educate, or preserve the property! 

Now what?

The Dead River Community Forest property has been purchased and protected.

We still need your help and input to create trails, design signage, organize educational programming,

and draft land management plans!


Attend our upcoming meetings and events - check the public events calendar for updates. We also need your input on what you would like to see by taking an easy and simple online survey. We have a long and short version depending on your time commitment. Tell us what you think by sharing your input below!


Help us spread the word! Share what is going on at the beloved Dead River Community Forest to your family and friends, like and reshare our social media posts, or let us come to you!

Are you a part of an organization, a hiking group, an employee wellness group, or a community of any kind that would be interested in benefiting from this amazing protentional resource?

We'll come talk to your group live in person or you can bring them to one of our events of info sessions. 

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We want to hear from you

Community is in its name and we need your input for the Dead River Community Forest Management Plan.

We are gathering stories, knowledge, and input from the community for the DRCF project. Do you have something to share about the land's ecology, history, cultural resources, or what this land means to you? Please consider sharing via the link below. Thank you for being a part of the protection and life of this land. 

Excited about the project, but not sure where to start? -we have two survey options with directed questions below! 

You can view a overview of the survey results as of 3/18/2022 by clicking the link here!

Check out the Latest Student Research

Thank you to Dr. Adam Naito and Sydney Chrome for your valuable research at the

Dead River Community Forest!


Discover the dead river community forest

The Dead River Community Forest is a multi-partner collaboration that has secured 186 acre

The Forest provides habitat to migratory birds such as the American Woodcock,
American Coot, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and many more!

43 Bird Species

186 acres

This is a multi-partner collaboration that will protect and give public access to 186 acres of healthy, diverse riparian forest and critical floodplains!

The natural features of the forest provide a groundwater filtration system which plays a critical role in providing clean drinking water for the community of Marquette

and ensures clean waters flow

into Lake Superior.

3.5 miles of

Anchor 1

In addition to providing essential habitat for 16 avian species of concern and other native flora and fauna, DRCF will will also benefit the Upper Peninsula community via that many ecosystem services inherent in well managed forests. This includes, hydrological (e.g., water supply, flood control), atmospheric (e.g., air quality, carbon sequestration), and vegetation (e.g., habitat, esthetics) 

Protected by you, for You

Learn about the Goals of the DRCF Project

goal 1

To ensure the permanent protection of 186 acres of riparian forest by acquiring two high-value conservation parcels in the Dead River Basin by spring 2022:

The proposed project will protect several tributaries to the Dead River, which provides drinking water, hydroelectric power, and recreation to the 27,000 year-round City of Marquette Residents. Protecting this area from development, deforestation, and damaging types of recreation will protect this amazing water resource.

Do you have input related to this goal that you would like to contribute for the Dead River Community Forest Management Plan? Send us an email at


goal 2

To provide recreation opportunities that meet the needs and interests of the community by establishing multi-use trails and educational signage in those parcels within a year of acquisition;

The DRCF will enhance recreational opportunities for U.P residents, visitors, and tourists by providing several miles of non-motorized trails for hiking, bird-watching, nature photography, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and mountain biking. 

Provide feedback on what activites you think the Dead River Community Forest should emphasize by emailing us at

goal 3

To actively engage the public in the land protection and management processes by forming genuine partnerships with diverse stakeholders throughout the acquisition, development, and ongoing management process;

By engaging the public in the land protection processes we can create a more informed community that can help us with their input.

Take our survey above to add your input, or email us at


goal 4

To provide opportunities for the public to establish an emotional connection with the property, which will spur a sense of communal responsibility, by hosting informational meetings and active outings on the property prior to, during, and after establishing the properties;

The Dead River Community Forest will be a space designed to connect us to the land itself through community outings and opportunities to foster a love for this land to manifest itself years into the future. 

If you would like to share your input on how to foster connections through community events email us at

goal 5

To expand outdoor educational opportunities for students and landowners to experience hands-on learning about the sustainable management of various UP ecosystems/habitats throughout the acquisition, development, and ongoing management process;

The DRCF will provide ready access to natural and managed lands for study by all educational levels, from elementary to graduate school. Northern Michigan University have conducted research projects in topic such as biomass sequestration and  cold water fisheries stock. Beyond formal education, the DRCF will become a unique educational resource for landowners and professional foresters via demonstration of silvicultural practices. 

If you would like to provide your vision based on this goal as we construct the Management Plan, please email


goal 6

And to initiate a climate-change mitigation-focused and restoration-based Forest Management Plan for the proposed Dead River Community Forest in order to further prepare the area for the current and future effects of climate change in that area.

To be proactive against the effects of climate change, the Dead River Community Forest project has climate change mitigation tactics built into it's groundwork. 

To learn more about our DRCF Management Plan email us at and take our survey above!

This land is protected 
because of individuals like

Thank you

We are so grateful for our partners


USDA- US Forest Service Community Forest Program

The Nature Conservancy

Sustainability Hub for Innovation and the Environment ("SHINE")

at Northern Michigan University

Marquette County Conservation District

UP Resource Conservation & Development Council 

Green Timber Forestry Consultants

Trout Unlimited- Fred Waara Chapter

Chocolay Raptor Center 

Lake to Lake Cooperation Invasive Species Management Area

NMU Classes including- Center for Native American Studies Community Engagement Class; EEGS Forest Biomass Project; Northern Museum of Zoology Field Students

McClure Basin Association Inc.

Audubon Society-

Laughing Whitefish Chapter

Noquemenon Trail Network

North Country National Scenic Trail

Travel Marquette

Negaunee Township

Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition

Compass Land Consultants

Community Foundation of Marquette County

The Ray and Peg Hirvonen Foundation


Check out this waterfall!

We’re working to build a trail so you can see it in person.


Midway creek winds its way around massive granite outcroppings on its way to the Dead River through the Community Forest

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