The state of Michigan was recently named the best place in the world for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’ve spent a few hours in the state’s 19 million acres of forest or 3,000 miles of shoreline, you already knew Michigan is a stunning playground for those who love the outdoors.
But it’s not just the outdoorsy folks who appreciate the Great Lakes region.
With its rich soil and plentiful water, the region is also known for its diverse agricultural production and is the source of much of the country’s soybeans, corn and hay. The Midwest really is the heart of America.
That’s why we need to do everything we can to ensure conservation of its irreplaceable farmlands, timberlands, streams, rivers and watersheds. And not just for their natural beauty. People depend on these assets for jobs, recreation, water and food. In fact, the vital Great Lakes watershed provides a full 20% of the world’s freshwater. These lands must be protected and preserved.
So what can you do today to help ensure the future of our precious land and water? Here are a few ways you can take action.
Find A Land Trust
Land trusts partner with landowners, communities, government agencies, and each other, and pool resources to significantly protect vital land and water areas. The Great Lakes watershed area is served by 105 land trusts — one of the highest concentrations of conservation groups in the nation. The Land Trust Alliance can help you find a land trust that serves your area.
Make Your Voice Heard
It’s hard to overstate the economic value generated by public lands. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, DNR-managed public lands support a $20 billion timber industry, 680k hunters who generate $2.3 billion, and a – gulp – $22.8 billion tourist industry. And that’s just in Michigan. Keeping an eye on public officials and holding them accountable is one way you can ensure responsible management of public lands throughout the Midwest.
Get Out There
Outside is where we go to reconnect, explore, train, play, reset, or even just daydream. Lush and vibrant outdoor spaces are pillars in the lives of those lucky enough to live in the Great Lakes region. But don’t take them for granted. Celebrate the area’s natural wonders by spending time visiting whenever possible.