Pilgrim River Forest opening

To the editor:

As recently reported in the Daily Mining Gazette, the 1,295 Pilgrim River Forest was formally dedicated on July 24. The dedication ceremony, attended by 65 people, took place on a perfect summer day in a natural setting at one of the inspiring river overlooks. The Pilgrim River Forest is part of the larger Pilgrim River Watershed Project that conserves 1,600 acres of working forest and about four miles of the river. Local conservation partners were Copper Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Keweenaw Land Trust, Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District, Copper Country Audubon, Keweenaw Trails Alliance, Partners in Forestry and Northwood Alliance.

The support of the local community since active fundraising began in December 2010 was essential. More than 450 local grant matching monetary donations were made.

In addition, John Ollila, a land owner in the Pilgrim River Valley, donated conservation easements on 200 acres and made fee simple contributions totaling 38 acres.

We appreciate financial and administrative assistance of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service. Portage Township and Houghton County supported the project.

We hope all members of the community enjoy the non-motorized recreational opportunities that the project has ensured for the current and future generations.