Homesteading in Michigan's UP vs. SW Mich. : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Have you ever had an almost ideal situation when something better comes along?

I'm in Sw Michigan with ~50 acres, a pond, lake, woods and a nice home. The road out front is busy but otherwise it is a good set up. The local town of 70,000 overs opportunities about 10 miles away

Now I found an ideal job in St. Ignace, Mich (pop.~2,000). Much more rural, more indepent, creative people. But acreage in this rural area can be hard to find as most of several counties is federal forest in the area. So have other folks out there had to make a similar decision?

I'd hate to give up acreage to get further away from the sidewalks, it seems like a oxymoron, but that is the way it is. I'd also hate to lose 3 weeks of gardening time. On the plus side I would never have to worry about the neighbors buliding on federal land. It is a hard choice, any pointers?

-- Mark (, August 20, 2001


The population would decide for me, town of 70,000 nearby, or a town of 2,000 nearby? No brainer for me, the fewer folks the better for me! But then, I prefer critters over people any day, that's just me though. Small town folk are very different than city folk, where we live folks still wave to each other and actually help you when you need it, without being asked, heck, the postmaster knows where we live and once gave directions to our house to out-of-town friends coming to visit us.

Acreage is always cheaper where there are fewer people, sometimes it just takes longer to find it. Think "urban sprawl" compared to endless forests going on forever, then decide.

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, August 20, 2001.

Hi Mark,,, always nice to meet anothe GANDER. Its hard to find land near St Igmace. Most is state or federal, or Indian. and you never know what they are goign to do with it. But,, some do live off the land there. Your going to have to weight the job,, with what you have now,, along with the move. Maybe you could try it,, rent a place, for a few months,, give you a chance to look around. BTW,,IM in Lake county

-- stan (, August 20, 2001.

I agree with Stan, it at all possible; don't sell your place yet, and go up and try out the new job and the area in a rental situation. And we have been beside a large national forest with a lot of BLM land - not many people at all at that time and land was very tough to find and not very cheap. Good luck. Cynthia in MN

-- Cynthia in MN (, August 20, 2001.

Mark, Don't forget to do a slow circle in a grocery store up there so as to compare prices as to where your at!....gas / propane etc. Not cheap to live in the UP. I'm a couple countys north of the snow belt. Nearest village is 1500......gettin' kind of crowded......

-- Jim-mi (, August 20, 2001.

I never want property that is next door or even close to a federal land area or a state or federal park. Remember every so often you hear about the president, rembember Clinton just before he left office signing a order that enlarged several federal land areas. The people that owned that land had no choice but sell out to the goverment and move on. After purchaseing some property next to a high school some years a go and having the school buying it from us less than a year later because they needed it, I found always check who owns the property next to yours and in the neighborhood. The School has the right of emmiment domain and so all they had to do was pay us fair market price. Thats all the state, federal, or county has to do if they need to expand their holdings. If you are next door your homestead is history. I looked for years before I found one that was not with in 20 miles of any federal land, that is solid rock just a average of four feet down,(they can't build a land fill for garbage) Surrounded by 100 ft cliffs that means in my life time there will be no new interstates through it. Plan a head and check out the surroundings and what can happen. A federal woodland in the back yard is great untill they decide to protect a rare and endangered what ever,and your back yard needs to be part of the federal woodland.

-- David (, August 21, 2001.

Hi Mark, don't know where you are in SW Michigan, how old you are or what your current debt package is. Those would all be considerations for us. We tryed for jobs in the UP years ago because we loved it up there, openness and proximity to the big lakes etc, but at the time couldn't find jobs. Since our goal has always been to live as much off the land as possible, we have found many advantages to just blooming where we are on our little 40 acres here. The hunting is actually better here in Branch county than up in the UP, although they do have bear etc. What would the "ideal" job be??? For us the ideal would be just what we are doing and for us the UP would be a bit of a stretch. Must think about the haying season, having to buy all grains if you want to keep and feed out livestock...........much to consider beyond just a shorter gardening season. List out for yourself what you think the ideal homestead should look like and go up there and see if you find many of them. That would be a start. If no one else has a homstead that is doing what you think you want to do, it probably isn't being done. Sue Robenshaw (sp?) has written a great deal about homesteading in the UP. She just had an article in CS this issue.

Do you love snow???? The sound of snowmobiles???

-- diane (, August 21, 2001.

Don't forget about the tourists. St. Ignace is the gateway to the UP. If your homestead is close to a state or federal forest, count on snowmobiles running through your property at all hours of the day and night. Traffic along US2 can be a nightmare in the summer with all the gawkers looking at the lake.

-- Sherri C (, August 21, 2001.

Sue Robishaw has a website that you may find of use to you. Here's the link

-- Joy F [in So. Wisconsin] (, August 21, 2001.

My parents use to own a party store west of St.Ig. in Epoufette and a friend of mine use to own a party store on Bois Blanc Island.Living up there compared to down here (SE Mich) is 2 different worlds. There is a more layed back atmosphere among the reg's but there is also a very close-nit community atmosphere which don't take to no strangers. You still have the good old boys groups, and such. I would for sure make several trips to check things out and like some of the others have said you have to compare what is up there and for how much to what you are use to down here. And get use to snowmobiles! all though they are fun when traveling out on the lake following the christmas tree line, except in a blinding snow storm.

-- TomK(Mich) (, August 21, 2001.

Thanks for all that replied, you have given me a bunch to think about

-- Mark (, August 22, 2001.

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