Preserving the Yellow Dog Watershed
in its most natural state for the use of the public,
now, and for the benefit of future generations.

YDWP Properties

Currently, YDWP preserves and protects 1,340 acres of land within the Yellow Dog and Salmon-Trout watersheds. Below is a description of each property.

Pinnacle Falls Preserve:

Bushy Creek Acreage: There is a 12 acre parcel that was purchased by the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve in 2001 that is downstream from the confluence of Bushy Creek and the Yellow Dog River. It is a beautifully wooded lot with river frontage and has provided many recreational opportunities for the public. We occasionally have camp-outs during the summer on this property so keep your eye out for this event.

Jean Farwell Wilderness: The 160-acre tract encompassing the mouth of the Yellow Dog River, was purchased by the Farwell Family in the memory of Jean Farwell, a long-standing member and supporter of the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, Inc. We are thrilled that this property is now protected in perpetuity and for public use — from ecological damage and the effects of growth and development in the watershed. The “Yellow Dog Swamp” or SOSAWAGAMEE (Yellow Water), as it was known by the Ojibway, surrounded and encompassed much of what is now Lake Independence – roughly 3,500 acres of swampy lake. In the early 1930’s, a dam was built on the Yellow Dog River, which elevated the swampy lake into the Modern-day Lake Independence. The original Yellow Dog Swamp has been reduced to about 1,600 acres. The State of Michigan owns 1,048 acres, 160 acres are corporately owned and the remainder is private.

In 1996, large tracts of Yellow Dog River lowlands were purchased by developers and subdivided into small “river-frontage” parcels and sold. The remaining 160 acres of this development tract became our largest acquisition. The tract is located at the mouth of the Yellow Dog River and is a riparian wetland with more than half of the acreage an open riverine marsh with hummocks of mixed upland/lowland forests. It is a thriving habitat for numerous waterfowl, migratory birds, and marsh and riparian flora and fauna – both common and protected. The southern remainder of the property is mixed upland/lowland forests with the Yellow Dog River flowing slowly through it where the river ends just before flowing into Lake Independence. It travels underground or braids into hundreds of tiny channels of flowing waterways – making its way to Lake Superior River via the Iron River.

Purchase of this parcel protects nearly one-quarter mile of the Lake Independence shore; over a mile of the Yellow Dog River; the mouth of Johnson Creek; and all associated wetlands, swamp and riverine forests from home development, road building and timber production. As the wildness and beauty of this area is treasured by many, this purchase is an immense boon and asset to the community. We have made the property accessible to the public with hiking/skiing trails, observation areas and many wildlife oriented activities – like fishing! An immense amount of gratitude goes out to the Farwell family!

NAWCA: We joined a partnership in 2000 called the Michigan Upper Peninsula Coastal Wetland Proposal Phase II Project. This partnership, in response to a grant offering under the federal North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), submitted a proposal for the acquisition of 3,148 acres in seven counties in Michigan’s Congressional District 1. In our contribution, we were able to use the dollar value of the Jean Farwell Wilderness Area as a “wetlands acquisition demonstration match” towards the purchase of 160 acres currently owned by Fred and June Rydholm and Prentiss Brown. This property encompasses the headwaters of the main branch of the Salmon Trout River and also sheds into the Yellow Dog River (the property comes within 50 feet of the main stream of the Yellow Dog). This area is recognized as crucial habitat for migrating birds and other wildlife. It is not uncommon to see moose tracks or hear the howls of the wild. This land is a precious piece that our organization is honored to protect.
This grant opportunity was made possible by the land acqusition match of the Jean Farwell Wilderness. Thank you to the Farwell family!

Pinnacle Falls: YDWP acquired this 40 acre tract of land in 2003 after a great deal of successful fundraising. The parcel was under private ownership and under threat of a possible sale. YDWP wanted to ensure that the future generations, whoever the owner was, would be able to access this premier waterfall. Come visit our land and see for yourself why this river has meant so much to so many people.

Gateway to the McCormick: The parcel is located directly adjacent to the McCormick Wilderness Area, the only federal wilderness in Marquette County. The land itself serves as the north entrance to the wilderness area and is the trailhead that leads to the upper stretches of the Yellow Dog River, where it is considered a National Wild and Scenic River. It contains exceptional cedar forests, wetlands, a small stream, and is home to numerous flora and fauna species. Parcels like these are important not only biologically, but also serve as a buffer between protected and unprotected lands.