Our Work in
Arenac County/Northern Bay
The Cluster Area communities, located in the counties of Arenac and Bay, are the true definition of rural. The cluster cities of Standish (Arenac County), Pinconning (Northern Bay County), Au Gres (Arenac County), and Omer (Arenac County).
Cass County is a vastly rural region in the southwest corner of Michigan along the Indiana state line. Comprising 20 local municipalities, the county covers 490 square miles and has a population of 51,787 (Kids Count, 2019). Some of the county’s most defining features include its abundant agriculture
Manistee County is a small, rural community in Northwest Michigan with a population of less than 25,000 (U.S. Census, 2019) which includes a federally recognized Native American Tribe, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. Manistee County hugs the Lake Michigan coastline and is considered a tourist destination.
Alcona County is located in the northeast corner of northern lower Michigan and is made up of Barton City, Black River, Curran, Glennie, Greenbush, Harrisville, Lincoln, Mikado, and Spruce Alcona County has a total area of 1,791 square miles of both land and waterfront according to the United States Census 2020. Seventy percent of the land is made up of forest, that includes the Huron-Manistee National Forest. Alcona County is also home to 60 lakes, 3 major rivers and 36 miles of Lake Huron coastline. Hubbard Lake, one of Michigan’s largest inland lakes, is a popular destination for all things water related in the summer and ice fishing in the winter months. Alcona County thrives on tourism, recreation, agriculture, and timber production.
Chippewa County has a total population of 36,816 and is 2,698 square miles located in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is one of the largest counties in Michigan sharing a border with Canada. Located in Sault Ste. Marie, the Soo Locks join Lake Huron and Lake Superior and are essential to the transportation of resources and goods between the Great Lakes and other regions throughout the world. Over 95% of the United States’ iron ore move through the Soo Locks annually.
Located in Northern Central Lower Peninsula of Michigan, Ogemaw County has a total population of 20,895 according to the United States Census 2020. The county covers an area of 575 square miles and consists of fourteen townships, one village, and two cities. The largest city being West Branch. Ogemaw County adjoins Iosco County on the west and owes it’s settlement to it’s primal forests of pine. West Branch contains Irons Park, a city park established in 1955. Many community events are held in the park yearly. Lastly, Ogemaw County features the Ogemaw Hills Rifle River Recreation area. Canoeing, trout fishing, and swimming are just a few of the many recreational activities that are enjoyed throughout the County.
Benzie County is the smallest geographic county in Michigan, with 316 square miles and one stoplight. The mean commute to work time between 2015-2019 was 25.9 minutes for residents sixteen years or older, according to the 2020 US Census.
This project will focus on Houghton County located in the northwest corner of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Houghton County has a population of 35,684 individuals spread across 1,502 square miles. This region is rural and remote with only 36 people/square mile in Houghton County
Manistique, Michigan, is a small, rural town of 2,919 (US Census Bureau population data 2019) located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on the Northern shore of Lake Michigan. Manistique is located within Schoolcraft County, which includes the surrounding areas of Cooks, Thompson, Gulliver, and Germfask.
Baraga County is located in the northwest corner of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and has a population of 8,164 individuals spread across 904 square miles (US Census). This region is rural and remote with less than 10 people per square mile. Baraga County is home to Ojibwewanishiaabe, also known as the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), an Ojibwe nation. The KBIC brings rich culture and history to the community. Geographic isolation, rugged terrain, limited transportation systems, harsh winter weather and significant travel times for specialty medical care and shopping centers make this region truly rural. This area along with neighboring counties is often referred to as “Copper Country,” which reflects the mining of native copper. Mining, logging, and railroads have been the economic base for generations.
Iosco County is located on the Sunrise Side of Michigan (the shores of Lake Huron) in North East Michigan. According to the United States Census Bureau, Iosco County has an area of 1,890 square miles of which 549 square miles is land and 1,341 square miles is water. Travel through Iosco County and you will find beautiful lighthouses, miles of beaches, plentiful walking trails and a welcoming community.
Osceola County is in the West Central portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and features the communities of Evart, Reed City, Hersey, LeRoy, Marion, and Tustin. This rural county is home to 23,105 residents. According to the US Census Bureau, Osceola County has a total area of 573 square miles and 6.7 of that is water. The land is predominately utilized for agriculture and open space which makes the perfect setting for hiking, biking, hunting, camping, and exploring.