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A Letter From the Executive Director

UPLC Turns a New Leaf in Leadership

Dear Friends of the UP Land Conservancy,

I have some very big news to share with you today, both for myself personally, and for the organization. After over 7 years with UPLC, I am “passing on the baton” and stepping down as Executive Director on March 3rd. It's been an amazing journey full of incredible adventures and gratifying moments such as the acquisition and establishment of the Chocolay Bayou Nature Preserve, Mike Dempsey Memorial Preserve, and Dead River Community Forest, alongside the achievement of National Accreditation.

With exciting plans for the future, strong community support, the momentum of a year of groundbreaking successes, and a great staff and board, UPLC is prepared to start a new chapter on strong and stable footing, thanks to you! You can trust UPLC to continue to maintain the highest standards of excellence, permanence, and ethics as we continue to protect land across the UP.

The UPLC Board has appointed a special committee to guide the executive search and leadership transition and is working with staff to ensure a smooth and growth-oriented transition. The Committee has appointed Clare Fastiggi, UPLC’s current Lands Program Manager, to serve as Interim Director during this transitional period. Clare, while serving as Interim Director, will be your key point of contact for ongoing and standard functions of the organization. You can reach out to her at or (906) 225-8067 with any questions or comments.

When reflecting on my time here, I'm so thankful for our dedicated community of conservation-minded folk. As a direct result of your support, we have hit huge milestones such as bringing UPLC through the COVID-19 pandemic, establishing more than 20 miles of trails and creating three educational signage trails, partnering with the DNR to expand Craig Lake State Park by 1,300 acres, leading UPLC through strategic growth, and generally establishing UPLC’s reputation across the Great Lakes region as a strong partner in conservation for the UP.

I hope to see you at the Annual Meeting on February 23rd before I embark on my next adventure (which includes a long backpacking trip) and to share more about UPLC’s plans for the upcoming year.


Andrea Denham

UPLC Executive Director

A Message from UPLC Staff

If nature has taught us anything, it's how to move through the seasons with beauty and patience. The leaves which fall in autumn grow into green canopies in the summer. Even as rivers freeze over in the winter, the waters continue to flow beneath. UPLC is a promise to protect land forever. It's in our mission:

Protect Land Today for Life Tomorrow

It's our gift to steward this incredible landscape for generations of students, families, and outdoor explorers beyond ourselves. With this eternal commitment, we recognize the necessity to remain prepared and adaptable to the seasons of change that we all face.

The UPLC Board (BOD) has appointed a special committee to oversee the executive search and leadership transition and is working with staff to ensure a smooth and growth-oriented transition. Currently, the new Executive Director (ED) position description is being finalized by the BOD and will be shared this Spring. The special committee will begin to consider applicants starting soon after, and will schedule interviews as appropriate throughout the summer. With our resourceful and diligent BOD, a dedicated special transition committee, and the support of our nationwide allies in land protection, we aim to have a new ED selected by September.

Throughout this transition, what won’t change is our commitment to community conservation, working individually and collectively with our partners and volunteers to protect terrestrial wilderness, healthy rivers, and climate-resilient communities. Addressing these challenges has never been more essential, and making real and lasting progress will take all of us. Finally, we'd like to personally thank you for your ongoing support and dedication to preserving this beautiful Peninsula we all call home.

Yours in Conservation,

Clare Fastiggi Interim Executive Director Hannah Boyd Administrative and Communications Manager Em Staat Lands Program Assistant

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