The new UP Eastern Nature Reserve spans 582 acres, 3 lakes

DETOUR, MICH. – A spectacular property in the eastern part of the Upper Peninsula is now a public nature reserve.

The new Elise M. Kummer Nature Reserve covers 582 acres in DeTour, near Lake Huron and the St. Mary’s River. Although it does not have dedicated hiking trails, it does have two trails open to the public. It is owned and managed by the Little Traverse Conservancy, a Harbor Springs-based nonprofit that oversees more than 200 nature reserves in the area.

According to conservation, the new reserve is the culmination of a personal dream for Walter Kummer, a longtime land steward who discovered the plot while researching real estate listings for property in need of protection.

“During COVID, I found myself scanning listings of large properties for sale across the country,” Kummer said in a statement. “When I saw this property in the eastern Upper Peninsula, I could tell it was a quality piece.”

Stretching over a mile between its northern and southern limits, the reserve encompasses several habitat types, including an open bog, northern white cedars, and mixed deciduous and coniferous forest. It also includes frontage on Bear Lake, Brown Lake, South Caribou Lake, and Caribou Creek, as well as over 500 feet along the M-134 Scenic Drive, where a sign will eventually point to the reserve.

A longtime Michigan Nature Association volunteer, Kummer says the land’s distinct location will make it even more important in the years to come.

“The cooler temperatures of the northern Great Lakes make the land more resilient to climate change, allowing some species to thrive in this microclimate,” he said. “These are the areas that are going to be our ‘ark’ to save a lot of our species.”

The reserve is named after Kummer’s mother, to whom he credits his love of the outdoors.

Directions from Little Traverse Conservancy to the reserve are as follows: From DeTour, follow East South Caribou Lake Road west for 4.2 miles, where a two-lane lane on the left can then be followed for about a quarter mile. Access by power line provides a trail to access the reserve.

For more information on Elise M. Kummer Nature Reserve, visit Little Traverse Conservancy online at


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