Frequently Asked Questions

  1. 1.What is the north woods?  The north woods is an ecotone, a unique overlap area that defines in a broad band the southern limit of the plant and animal species of the vast boreal forests to the north, and the northern limit of the plants and animals of the broadleaf forests to the south and east.  This broad band that is the north woods encompasses the northern parts of Wisconsin and lower Michigan, all of Upper Michigan and Minnesota, and southern Ontario.  The north woods is a very young and dynamic system.  Only 10,000 years ago the region was covered in ice up to two miles thick.  The blending of northern and southern species creates unique types of competition and food webs that may include snowy owls (boreal) feeding on southern flying squirrels.  It is not a homogenous blending: there are many pockets of pure boreal or broadleaf forest scattered throughout the north woods.  In addition to the biological abundance, diversity, and dynamism, the north woods is spectacularly beautiful.  The Great Lakes, exposed bedrock and sandstone on bluff and shore, majestic forests, and thousands of inland lakes, streams, and rivers combine with the flora and fauna to create scenic perfection.

  1. 2.What is a Conservancy?  A conservancy is an organization, usually non-profit, that is dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitats for the benefit of native species.  The NWC also focuses on science and education and public enjoyment.  A Conservatory is a greenhouse, usually attached to a home, in which delicate, rare or exotic plants, especially flowers, are grown.  A Conservatory is also a school of advanced study, usually in the fine arts, such as a music conservatory.

  1. 3.Why isn’t Seven Mile Point open all the time?  SMP is actually Lot #24 of the private SMP subdivision.  Providing public access to Lot #24 at the dead end of the private subdivision road was contrary to the SMP Declaration of Easements, Covenants, and Restrictions (DECR).  Before the NWC was allowed to purchase SMP and provide public access, the seller required the NWC to obtain written permission to modify the DECR.  All lot owners ultimately gave permission, contingent upon the following conditions:  public access limited  to weekends, noon to sunset, May 15 to October 15, with a NWC host present.  The NWC Board was faced with two options: proceeding with the stated limitations and thereby conserving the habitat and providing public access, or not protecting the habitat and completely ending public access.  The Board decided on the former.  If the NWC had not purchased SMP, this amazing natural area would instead have 3-12 homes built on it, with zero public access.  So if you hear that “the NWC closed off Seven Mile Point” please set the person straight. 

    Note: all other NWC natural areas are open daily during daylight hours with no fee.

  1. 4.Does it cost anything to get into Seven Mile Point?  No. From 2010-2017 the NWC asked that visitors pay either a daily fee of $7/person, buy an annual car sticker for $28 (this allows access for that car for the entire season), or become a member for a minimum of $25 (membership includes a car sticker).  Why such a policy?  Because a lot of money was/is still owed on the property and the NWC was not receiving enough in voluntary donations to even pay for the porta-potty, much less pay the mortgage.  Now the mortgage is paid by A.) the awesome NWC 500 Monthly Sustainers, who (on average) donate $12/month (or $150 in an annual lump sum), and B.) By proceeds of the Keweenaw Truck Raffle.  So make sure to chip in $5 or $12 (or whatever!) per month to help with the mortgage payment, please sign up today, and also make sure you stop by the Ahmeek Streetcar Station and buy your truck raffle ticket this year (

  1. 5.Who owns the NWC?  No person owns the NWC.  It is a 501(c3) non-profit charitable organization.  Every member should feel a sense of ownership and accomplishment.  These amazing natural areas would not exist without our all-volunteer efforts and donations.  Join today! 

  1. 6.Is the NWC against hunting?  No, not at all; the upland portion of Merganser Pond (200 acres) east of Five Mile Point Road is open to bow and crossbow deer hunting, and so is Conglomerate Falls (120 acres; exclusively to the cabin renter) and Gratiot River County Park (222 acres).  However, the primary focus of the organization is conservation and quiet recreation, not hunting or ORVing. For those for whom hunting is a primary focus, the NWC encourages you to enjoy the NWC areas named above, as well as the 99% of public land that is open to hunting.  Some NWC Natural Areas are not conducive to hunting, primarily due to sensitive habitats, proximity to residences, and regular use by non-hunters. Looking ahead, the NWC hopes to work at the Township, County, and State level to encourage the large timber companies to place conservation easements on their holdings. This would keep corporate forest land on the CFR tax rolls, provide habitat protection, maintain important ecological processes, maintain forestry and logging jobs and provide materials for value-added industry, and keep the land open to the public for hunting, fishing, camping, trails (motorized, non-motorized, and equestrian) and other recreational activities. In other words, a win-win-win-win-win.