Property Master Planning Menominee River Area - Wisconsin and Michigan
The Menominee River Area master plan process is a collaborative effort between both the Wisconsin DNR and Michigan DNR. With public ownership on both sides of the river, this joint management plan will help create a "one place, one feel" experience. The combined effort will give both states a unified approach that will, with citizen and community input, develop a planning and management strategy that protects the resources while addressing recreation and tourism needs and opportunities that can have a positive impact to the local economy.
Preliminary vision and goals
Preliminary vision and goals
With nearly 10,000 acres of public land surrounding the Menominee River on the border of Michigan's upper peninsula and northeast Wisconsin, both states have the potential to create a wilderness experience unlike few other areas in the Midwest, enduring resource protection and providing public recreation opportunities.
The purpose and goals for acquisition of lands along the Menominee River include:
- Protection of the scenic values of the Menominee River and associated natural resources. This part of the Menominee River is undeveloped, and contains numerous rock outcrops, rapids, deep pools and natural waterfalls. The uplands contain areas of old growth forest and much of the area is forested with aspen with some pine, oaks and swamp conifers.
- Provide opportunities for public recreation. Piers Gorge contains some of the fastest moving water in Michigan and Wisconsin, and is a popular destination for expert kayakers and rafters seeking the challenge of class IV white water. The cool water fishery in the river offers excellent fishing opportunities at both locations. Upland recreation offers beautiful scenery, wildlife viewing, hunting and trail use.
- Build on existing state-owned river frontage in the area. On the Wisconsin side of the river, these lands will be added to the Menominee River State Recreation Area. On the Michigan side, they abut the Escanaba State Forest. Public ownership of these lands on both sides of the river offers a unique opportunity for a joint partnership between the respective Natural Resources Departments for management of these lands.
Menominee River Area planning maps
Starting in 1997, the States of Wisconsin and Michigan purchased lands along the Menominee River from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, The Conservation Fund, Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and the Wisconsin Electric Power Company. Combined, these lands encompass a 17-mile stretch of undeveloped riverway surrounded by 9,767 acres of public land.
Within this riverway, eight waterfall/rapids exist, resulting in the unique opportunity for rafting/kayaking class II to V rapids. The upper section of the riverway is known as "Piers Gorge" and is a destination for whitewater kayaking and rafting groups. The remainder of the riverway is a flat water destination for fishing and canoeing, but also contains two waterfalls: Quiver Falls (class III) and Premene Falls (class IV) that offer whitewater opportunities.
In general, the water quality in this stretch of the Menominee River is considered to be good. Levels of dissolved oxygen are high and levels of turbidity and contaminants are low and 10 species (two plants and eight animals) have been documented in the NHI database.
The area lies within the Northeast Sands Ecological Landscape for which the Wisconsin Land Legacy Plan and Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan have identified many unique conservation opportunities for a variety of species and habitats unique to Northeast Wisconsin.
On the Michigan side of the river, the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) has identified the Piers Gorge area as a "Volcanic Glade Natural Community" and has also identified protected species in the Piers Gorge lands acquired. An Oak-Pine Barren Natural Community has been identified just north of the Piers Gorge lands. MNFI also identified several species of fresh water mussels in the river.