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Wildlife Program


What is the Great Northwoods? 

Stretching across millions of acres of the 45th parallel in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, our Great Northwoods is one of the most revered places on the continent. These ecologically-rich hardwood forests include thousands of sparkling freshwater lake and miles of free-flowing streams, providing vital habitat for a variety of wildlife. Close to major population centers, the Northwoods are also bring unparalleled opportunities for people to relax, recreate, reconnect with nature.

Pressures in the Great Northwoods are ever-increasing while funding for science-based management is dwindling. Ongoing pressures to extract resources, a rapidly changing climate, growing outbreaks of deadly wildlife diseases, all threaten the Northwoods' existence as a special place for people and wildlife?

What is NWF-Great Lakes Doing? 

To protect these vital public lands for future generation, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is launching a new Great Northwoods Initiative. The scope of the project will include northern hardwood forest above 45th parallel in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, stretching from Lake Superior to Lake Huron.

Working with local partners include Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), Wisconsin Wildlife Federation (WWF) and Minnesota Conservation Federation (MCF), we will focus on: 

  • The need to maintain biodiversity and health in native species
  • Sustainable management of northern hardwood forest as an economic driver for the region
  • Recognizing and actively managing forest for the impacts of climate change 
  • Expanding multi-use outdoor recreation opportunities to marginalized communities that have historically been excluded due to socioeconomic and racial barriers

To learn more check out Protecting our Great Northwoods. For more information contact Jason Dinsmore, Director of Conservation Partnerships at



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Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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