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Among the commercial ventures expressing interest in purchasing some of the Keweenaw County land currently for sale is the Copper Trails Club. Most if not all of club’s mountain bike trails are on land that is for sale. (Photo courtesy of Copper Harbor Trails Club)

The website is in relation to the project to purchase approximately 32,600+ acres of timber land that is currently being sold as a single parcel by the timber investment company that owns it.

The website states that if a purchase cannot be arranged within a smaller few months, the owners are likely to fragment the property through parcel sales to interests that have little incentive to maintain current benefits or pursue opportunities to manage the lands to grow local prosperity.

“The public access, recreational uses, local tax revenue and forest products jobs this land provides are vital to the interests of residents and visitors,” the site states, “and to the future economic health of the area.”

In June, the KCF organized a series of public meetings in Houghton and Keweenaw counties to inform the community about a project to purchase the lands, located in Keweenaw County, said Sara Fletcher, office assistant at KCF.

MENEGUZZO

“The Keweenaw Area Community Foundation’s role with this project,” said Fletcher, “is to support our local community’s engagement in this process by leading the organizing of public meetings, providing regular informational updates about the project, and ensuring the community’s voice is heard throughout this process.”

The two-hour meetings included information about the project from consultant Joe Molinaro, along with comments from the Nature Conservancy and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

In June, 2021, American Forest Management announced that the timberland in Keweenaw County was for sale. The land is owned by The Rohatyn Group.

The raised announcement concerns for many — both county residents and nonresidents — including the Keweenaw County Board of Commissioners. Of major concern to the board is that large parcels of the land will be purchased by conservancy organizations, removing them from the tax rolls.

At the April 20 regular board meeting, a motion was unanimously passed to appoint commissioner Bob DeMarois and board chairman Don Piche to a local government committee to work with The Nature Conservancy and the DNR regarding the land sale, including a parcel from Keweenaw Point to Lac La Belle, owned by TRG.

FLETCHER

Fletcher said after the June meetings, which took place in Calumet, Mohawk and Copper Harbor, many community members asked to be kept informed about the project’s progress.

To do that, she and Robin Meneguzzo, KCF executive director, built the website for the Keweenaw Land Project.

“While the web page is ours,” said Fletcher, “we received the information from TNC.”

KCF, she said is performing the role of facilitating in helping to bring people together and elevate the community part of who the KCF is.

“I mean, whatever happens, we want to get the community involved, right?” she said.

Do you have questions for the project team? Contact a member of the planning committee (details available on the website), email keweenaw@tnc.org or call 906-225-0399.

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