Power company selling land

Michigan State Roundup

Published January 1, 2007  | January 2007 issue

The Upper Peninsula Power Co. is in the midst of a controversial plan to sell waterfront property near six of its hydroelectric dams to Naterra, a land development company based in Minneapolis.

UPPCO has already sold acreage on three sites to Naterra and is planning three additional sales to the company, with a total of about 7,000 acres changing hands. The sites are spread out in the counties of Alger, Delta, Houghton, Marquette and Ontonagon. (See related story on commercial forests.)

The sales have met with a fair amount of public opposition, in part because the undeveloped UPPCO lands offer public access to a variety of recreational pursuits. Plans for shoreline development and protection are being studied. At the site being proposed for sale in Alger County, UPPCO is considering selling a slice of acreage to the state to preserve the AuTrain Basin wildlife refuge there.

Not all community activists are against the development, however. For example, in Houghton, a group called Save Our School, Save Our Shore (SOS) became a vocal supporter of the project in that region, which the group believes would bring more families to town and help the local property tax base.

Ronald A. Wirtz