We are all downstream.
“The way we treat rivers reflects the way we treat each other” – Aldo Leopold
Indian Lake Conservation Preserve | Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy
Indian Lake is the source of an amazing amount of freshwater that thousands of people depend on for healthy drinking water, clean fish to eat, safe recreation of many kinds, and its waters provide clean water for healthy forest ecosystems which are imperative to our economic and social health. The Peshekee River starts in the boggy wetlands of the Murphy Family Preserve, adjacent to Indian Lake. Thanks to the Murphy Family’s donation of these two pristine backcountry preserves, these wild areas will continue to perform the task that Mother Nature gave them–they act as a filter to purify the groundwater as it gains momentum and flows on its way to Michigamme Lake, into the Michigamme River, becomes part of the Menominee River and then finally empties into Lake Michigan.
“To track a creek or a river to the point where maps identify its origin is to force a consideration of beginnings, to wonder what a beginning is, to wonder what point separates existence from that entity which comes before existence.”
– Josh Brewer
Indian lake Preserve has long been a place of refuge for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. This sanctuary from the troubles of the modern world is a testament to the lasting strength and resiliency of nature, despite man’s best attempts to control and shape it. The Indian Lake Conservation Preserve was donated to UPLC in 2014 by the Murphy Family. The preserve is 635 acres of pristine, archetypal Michigamme Highlands wilderness whose incredibly diverse habitat ranges from steep-sloped old growth hemlock forest to the island-dotted eutrophic lake. This marvelously beautiful place is home to a healthy moose population, black bear, eagles, nesting loons and wolves; and during last year’s Botanical Survey, we recorded the first occurrence of the carnivorous plant English Sundew (Drosera Anglica) in Marquette County. Since UPLC has only recently received Indian Lake Preserve, we are still working on developing trails and signage (read more details about that below).
Visiting Indian Lake Preserve
UPLC runs open-to-the-public guided trips to Indian Lake and the Murphy Family Preserve each year. In 2016, we called on local botanists and botany learners to conduct a botanical survey of a portion of Indian Lake’s wetland and discovered a treasure trove of rare plants. We have used the preserve to host multiple regional partnership meetings with other organizations and local landowners who are passionate about protecting the Michigamme Highlands and other wilderness gems in the surrounding areas. If you’d like to join on one of the guided trips, be sure to sign up for our newsletter, follow us on Facebook, and check out the on this website for upcoming trips. You may also be able to walk in from the Peshekee Grade, a 3-mile round trip along a road easement. Please contact UPLC for details and an access map by calling (906)225-8067.
Respect our Neighbors, Respect the Wild
Accessing and recreating at Indian Lake Conservation Preserve is an adventure straight out of an old Hemmingway story. Please contact UPLC for a map of the walking route to the Preserve from the Peshekee Grade near Michigamme. Please respect our neighbors if you decide to walk the road to the Preserve! If you need a specific idea of what that looks like: stay on the road and do not leave any trace of your crossing; be respectful about the photos you choose to take of others’ property. Interact respectfully with our neighbors! Do not bring your pets either across our neighbor’s roads or into the Preserve. Preserve boundaries are clearly marked, do not trespass onto our neighbor’s lands. No wheels or motors except with a UPLC host to open locked gates for you–that includes bicycles.
While visiting the Preserve, it is important to remember that we are protecting this area for its pristine wilderness values and the many benefits that intact wilderness brings to our lives.
Indian Lake and the nearby Murphy Family Preserve require that visitors be able to travel savvy through wilderness areas and we highly recommend bringing a map and compass along with a working knowledge of these tools. You will not have cell service in or around the Preserve, so be sure to have an emergency contingency plan in place. Trails are a work in progress and may not be clearly marked or completed at this time (though that is in the work plan to be completed over the next two years). Hunting and fishing are not allowed on the preserves, nor is overnight camping or fires. Please call the UPLC for a full list of permissible activities and for a detailed map. UPLC is not responsible for anything that may happen while you travel in the wild.
Please be sure to practice Leave No Trace principals during your stay.
Protecting wilderness areas like Indian Lake is up to you.
Click here to be a part of the permanent protection of Indian Lake today, and help us protect properties like it across the Upper Peninsula.
“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.” – Jules Renard