Jordan River hosts natural area tour|
State Department of Natural Resources officials today announced a June
8 tour of the Jordan River Valley Proposed Natural Area, the third of 11
tours planned this year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Natural
The natural areas movement in Michigan began in 1925, when State Parks
Chief P.J. Hoffmaster recommended the acquisition and preservation of
the Porcupine Mountains. In 1972, Michigan passed into law the
Wilderness and Natural Areas Act, which finally provided legally binding
protection for natural areas. Today, more than 130,000 acres statewide
are managed as natural areas under this program.
The Jordan River Valley is located within Mackinaw State Forest in the
northeast part of Antrim County, approximately four miles west of
Elmira. The area has been proposed for legal dedication as a natural
area. Other portions of the Valley also have been proposed for
designation as "Old Growth."
The proposed natural area encompasses much of the headwaters area of
the Jordan River. Because of its steep slopes, many seeps and springs,
poor soils and inaccessibility, this land reverted back to state
ownership in the early 1900s. What once was discarded as wasteland now
is one of our most beautiful forested landscapes.
The forests primarily are mixed hardwoods on the upland and swamp
conifers in the lowlands. The mixed hardwoods are approximately 80 years
old and a result of turn-of-the-century logging. They are a mix of
maple, beech, ash and basswood, and at one time had a good volume of
The Jordan has natural river status and was the first river in the
state to be dedicated as a Wild and Scenic River. The water in the
Jordan is derived almost entirely (90%) from ground water, resulting in
very stable water flow. The high quality and constant temperature of the
water in the springs makes the Jordan River clean and cold in the summer
and ice-free in the winter. It supports a good fishery of brook trout
and brown trout.
The Natural Areas Program is supported in part by nongame fish and
wildlife funds. You can support these efforts by looking for the loon
and purchasing a wildlife habitat license plate for your vehicle.
The tour will begin at Dead Man's Hill Overlook, head down into the
Valley to parallel the river, and then loop back up a gradual slope to
return to the overlook. Click below to see more details.