Friday, Sep 15, 2023

Celebrating its 50th year, Estivant Pines Inducted into the National Old-Growth Forest Network!


To coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary, the forest has been recognized in the national Old-Growth Forest Network (OGFN) joining over 200 ancient forests and future old-growth sites recognized for their accessibility to people and protections from future logging. The more than 570-acre forest protected by the Michigan Nature Association (MNA) is well-known for its magnificent pines. As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration, MNA developed a feature video “Last of the Giants”, which explores the efforts to protect the sanctuary, and the long-lasting impact that it continues to have for the community.


Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary protects one of the last and largest old-growth white pine stands in Michigan. Numerous other tree species are also present including white cedar, yellow birch, balsam fir, red oak and sugar maple. Bisected by the Montreal River, the preserve is home to more than 85 species of birds that inhabit the old-growth forest. Escaping the “big cut”, logging threatened the forest once again in the 1970’s. To save the ancient pines, MNA led a 3-year statewide fundraising campaign to purchase 200 acres of Estivant Pines from Universal Oil in 1973. Concerned citizens from the “Save The Pines” committee helped in the fundraising that led to this initial acquisition, and three additional acquisitions since have expanded the sanctuary to its current size of just over 570 acres.


Charlie Eshbach, a member of the "Save the Pines" committee said, “it makes my heart jump to see that MNA is so committed to taking care of this special place.”


Learn more about the effort to save the pines in the recent "Michigan Nature Presents: Last of the Giants" video, developed with the videography team at Fauna Creative.



Nick Sanchez, Network Manager for OGFN remarks, “We’re honored to recognize and celebrate this forest on its 50th anniversary alongside the Michigan Nature Association and their community of supporters who have worked hard to protect the forest, expand its borders, and keep it open for enjoyment. Decades ago, even classrooms were involved in raising money to help save the old-growth. This recognition extends to those children, now adults, who along with many others saved an irreplaceable wild forest, an incredible legacy for their children and grandchildren who can now go visit those pines 50 years later.”


OGFN is a nonprofit working to connect people with nature by creating a national network of protected, publicly-accessible forests and a network of people to protect them. Working with volunteers, naturalists, and researchers across the country, OGFN’s goal is to identify and ensure the preservation and recognition of at least one forest in every county in the United States where forests grow, focusing on celebrating our nation’s oldest forests. OGFN also educates about the extraordinary ecological and human wellness benefits of mature and old-growth forests, and speaks out regarding immediate threats to important forests. Founded in 2012 by Dr. Joan Maloof, OGFN has recognized over 200 forests in 34 states. Estivant Pines was the the 8th Michigan forest to be recognized in the Old-Growth Forest Network, and the 1st in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The full list of forests in the national Network may be viewed at