Quality of Life
There's a good reason why people live here in the Keweenaw, and it's not because we love shoveling. The Keweenaw has nearly unlimited recreational potential: from hiking at Estivant Pines to snowmobiling along remote backwoods trails, there is something for everyone. Visitors flock to the Keweenaw for our abundant natural and cultural amenities, supporting local businesses in the County and bringing in much-needed tax dollars. Students at Michigan Technological University and Finlandia University often choose to study here to be close to nature, forging a life-long love for the Keweenaw in the process. Engineering firms both big and small are siting their operations in the region to take advantage of our talented local workforce. We've seemingly cracked the chicken-or-the-egg problem when it comes to attracting new jobs to the area: provide top-quality recreational resources and both jobs and employees will soon follow.
People come to the Keweenaw for our unrivaled quality of life, driven largely by our excellent access to outdoor recreational activities. Imagine how much better off we'd be if we could protect even more of it. Right now many of our favorite outdoor pursuits, from hunting to fishing to berry picking and more, rely on having access to lands enrolled in the Commercial Forest program. If this land is parceled up and sold to private landowners, access could be restricted and we'd no longer be able to reach that coveted berry patch or prime fishing hole. Would snowmobiling to the Keweenaw's remotest corners be nearly as exciting if you couldn't get there from here? Our motorized and non-motorized trails often rely on year-to-year agreements with landowners to cross their property. If sold, these new landowners may decide that they don't like trails as much as we do.
Huge swathes of land in the Keweenaw's interior are owned by absentee investment funds that care about maximizing profits for their investors. Each fund sunsets after 10-15 years, but the fund managers are willing to sell the land at any time if the price is right. In the meantime, timber is extracted more aggressively with each successive cycle. The threat to our recreational and natural resources is real, and our quality of life will suffer if we do not act.
Local control over Keweenaw County's cherished landscapes is critical if we want to boost quality of life for all residents in the Copper Country. Help us educate future generations by joining KORC or giving today!