State Council Approves Accessibility Improvements in Douglass Houghton Falls

Northern Houghton County is home to the tallest waterfall in the entire state of Michigan. It’s not easy to get to, and Lansing is on the way to changing that. The Michigan National Resources Trust Fund has approved work to increase public access to Douglass Houghton Falls. All that remains is the similar approval of the legislature.

Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Brad Barnett said the Houghton County informal recreation authority played a huge role in the decision, two commissioners in particular.

The municipality is strongly involved. Commissioner Anderson and Commissioner Tikkanen were both involved, they are both involved in the Houghton County Recreation Authority.

The work will most likely look like something closer to what is seen at Canyon Falls in Baraga County, rather than a new state park. Barnett believes there are other sites in Keweenaw that may benefit from the same treatment in the future.

The one that immediately comes to mind is that of the Montreal Falls. This is Crown land, but access to it is just not as robust as we need to allow our residents and visitors to truly enjoy this attraction.

The full office release is below.


Residents and visitors to the Keweenaw Peninsula have welcomed the recommendation of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Board to provide $ 300,000 to expand access to Houghton-Douglass Falls, the highest waterfall in the Michigan. If the Michigan legislature approves the funding, preliminary design work and community engagement will begin to provide access to the ecological, geological and recreational gem.

“This Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board announcement is the most significant milestone for the Houghton-Douglass waterfall project since the state of Michigan purchased the property,” said Tom Tikkanen, Houghton County Commissioner. “This critical design process will enable the development of this most unique natural and historic resource into one of Michigan’s premier tourist destinations. This will be of great benefit to the Houghton County community.

Houghton-Douglass Falls, located near Calumet, Michigan, offers an impressive 110-foot vertical drop, making it Michigan’s tallest waterfall. The falls are fed by Hammel Creek and flow over the falls into a deep canyon with tall rock faces. Historical records dating back to 1896 suggest that it was named after cousins ​​Douglass Houghton (former Michigan state geologist) and Columbus Douglass.

The waterfall has been a popular site with locals; however, security concerns and overuse led to its closure to public access in the mid-2010s. Michigan DNR successfully purchased the property in 2018 with the goal of preserving the site and possibly expanding access. public.

Once the trust fund allocations have been approved by the legislature, MNR will begin to educate the community to inform the design of the site.

“Houghton-Douglass Falls is truly one of the most impressive sites on the Upper Peninsula,” said Brad Barnett, executive director of the Keweenaw Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It’s one of those places that makes you feel small compared to the Keweenaw wilderness. Allowing visitors to experience this site safely and with respect will mean a lot to businesses in the region and to the visitor economy.

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