Michigan Nature Association | Founders 4 the Future Campaign

As we continue to celebrate 70 years of protecting Michigan nature, we are very excited to announce a truly remarkable opportunity that your past support has made possible.

We’re calling it “Founders 4 the Future” - a multi-year campaign in honor of MNA’s founding generation to fund the protection of nearly 4,000 acres of critical habitat for rare, threatened, and endangered species.

The campaign includes new land protection projects at familiar sites like Brockway Mountain and within the migratory bird flyway along the St. Mary’s River corridor. These are places where, with your support, we’ve been working for years.

Three incredible opportunities include:

Fox River Wetlands - 5 Square Miles of Substantial Habitat

MNA’s largest land protection project in its 70-year history will secure over 5-square-miles of habitat and a collection of pristine natural communities, including an incredibly rare and high-quality patterned fen. The 3,436-acre Fox River Wetlands is at the very heart of the storied Fox River watershed, made famous by Ernest Hemingway, and connects to a conservation landscape of over 1 million acres that provides habitat for rare plants and animals of concern in Michigan.


Protecting an Iconic Trout Stream

  • The contiguous wetland complex found within Fox River Wetlands protects the East Branch of the storied Fox River, made famous by Ernest Hemingway. Popular among anglers for its native brook trout fishery, this state-designated “Natural River” supports a diversity of plant and animal life within its relatively undeveloped watershed. The water quality and wildlife habitat benefits resulting from protecting this critical ecosystem extends far beyond the borders of the property itself.


Saving a Rare 400-Acre Patterned Fen

  • A limited number of patterned fens remain in Michigan, making their protection very important in terms of biodiversity. A state imperiled natural community, the striking “wave-like” mounds and ridges in the fen give this property a remarkable view from above. And masked within the incredible sight of this vastly wild area, are the natural processes that are allowed to take place which support biodiversity and water quality. 

Providing a Home for Large Mammals

  • Scale is everything for larger mammals such as the federally endangered gray wolf, moose (a species of special concern in Michigan), and black bear. These animals require large landscapes to widely disperse. The Fox River Wetlands project not only helps support the spacial needs for these animals, it also provides excellent habitat for a diverse group of wetland and forest interior birds that require large habitat blocks.

Conserving Peatlands—A Carbon Storage Superhero

  • Rounding out the impressive list of conservation values is that the wetlands that dominate the property, particularly the patterned fen and another wetland type—coniferous swamp—contain a tremendous amount of peat moss, highly efficient carbon sinks on the landscape. Protecting these peat-dominated wetlands will make a valuable contribution toward a national network of carbon sequestration, a best practice to address climate change. 


Get an in-depth look at this property in this 4-minute video produced with the award-winning film crew of Fauna Creative:



Great Lakes Migratory Flyway

In Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula, one of MNA’s largest conservation landscapes protects a critical migratory channel for rare songbirds and majestic raptors alike. The biological diversity, size, and relatively undisturbed quality of the coastal wetlands and minimally-fragmented forests along the St. Mary’s River corridor make this an important conservation area for MNA. Already, more than 1,000 acres are protected by MNA sanctuaries in this conservation complex.


Supporting a Major Migratory Flyway

  • As migratory birds funnel through the St. Mary’s River on their way to wintering and breeding grounds, this connecting waterway between Lake Superior and the Straits of Mackinac provides a globally significant passageway for many rare species. Numerous birds utilize stopover habitat in this corridor including black tern, Caspian tern, osprey, merlin, bald eagle, American bittern, northern harrier, and others. 


Expanding Carlton Lake Nature Sanctuary to 880 Acres

  • The wetlands at MNA’s Carlton Lake Wetland Nature Sanctuary are along this migratory flyway. The 70th Anniversary Campaign would add 320 acres to the existing nature sanctuary expanding it to 880 acres, including ½ mile of lake frontage and adjacent wetlands on Carlton Lake. In recognition of the significance of this property, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (Small Grants Program) awarded partial funding toward this acquisition.


Preserving Biodiversity at Rocky Point Wetlands Nature Sanctuary

  • Considered to be a high-quality coastal wetland due to the relatively undisturbed quality and minimally fragmented forests between Lake Munuscong and the Gogomain Swamp to the south, the added land at Rocky Point Wetlands Nature Sanctuary protects an area containing a variety of tree cover and forested community, providing abundant habitat for a diversity of wildlife species considered to be of conservation priority—and importantly, many migratory birds.

Expanding Munuscong Lake Conservation Area to 1,120 Acres

  • Successful acquisition will not only add to the existing coastal wetlands at Rocky Point Wetlands Nature Sanctuary, it will further enhance the protected acreage in MNA’s Southern Lake Munuscong Coastal Wetlands complex, which also includes Roach Point and Munuscong Nature Sanctuaries. Combined, this complex is MNA’s largest protected conservation area at over 1,000 acres.


Brockway Mountain - An Iconic Viewshed

At the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, the iconic Brockway Mountain Drive attracts visitors from around the world. Its breathtaking overlooks provide for stunning sights extending beyond the horizon. The area is also known for harboring rare plants and animals in its unique landscape. For some of these rare species, the unique geology and wild character of Brockway Mountain are critical pieces that ensure their survival.


Protecting a Critical Wildlife Corridor

  • For years, MNA has been part of a private/public partnership to permanently protect thousands of acres of the Keweenaw Peninsula’s stunning Brockway Mountain, create a permanent wildlife corridor, and preserve scenic views of surrounding ridges and Lake Superior. Our new acquisition is another piece to the puzzle within a conservation landscape that includes MNA’s John J. Helstrom Nature Sanctuary, Klipfel Memorial Nature Sanctuary, and other protected lands.


Preserving a Unique Geological Feature

  • The volcanic rock outcrop that creates Brockway Mountain is part of the Greenstone ridge—one of the largest lava flows in the world— a unique geologic feature of this property. A combination of thin soils and gale force winds create a unique “semi-alpine” environment. These stunted bedrock-oriented communities contain numerous species listed by the State of Michigan as Endangered, Threatened, or as Species of Special Concern and an impressive concentration are known to occur on Brockway Mountain. 


Protecting Wild Habitat for Migratory Birds

  • Thousands of raptors, owls, and other birds use this flyway corridor as they migrate toward their summer nesting grounds in the north. The cliffs on Brockway Mountain provide an extraordinary opportunity to watch these raptors and other birds during spring and fall migration. The dramatic topography and rising warm air along the bluff help the birds to gain altitude, and bring them within close proximity of observers.


Saving Globally-Significant Scenic Vistas

  • Featuring the highest above sea-level road between the Rockies to the west and the Alleghenies in the east, Brockway Moutain is a true natural wonder. A designated Michigan Wildlife Viewing Areas, the bare rock peaks provide for prime bird-viewing during peak migration between April and June, and captivating sunrises and sunsets all throughout the year. Visitors come from around the world to experience its wild beauty overlooking Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area.




Donations of $500 or more to the Founders 4 the Future campaign will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $700,000! 


Learn more about MNA's 70-year history in the video link below, developed with Fauna Creative.