School Forest


The School Bog

The unique ecosystem of Laurel Lake Bog has been studied for over 30 years by West Iron County High School students.  The previous private landowners of the Bog always allowed access and study of the site.  When the Bog was placed on the market for sale in late 1999, concerns were raised about the preservation of the site and future access for our students.

Upon the recommendation of the District Science Committee, West Iron County Public Schools purchased the Bog in 2000 ensuring continued study and protection of this environment.

A bog is not a swamp or a marsh.  A bog is characterized by a lack of drainage with water that becomes stagnant.  The stagnant water becomes acidic from humic acid, produced by Sphagnum moss.  As the moss dominates the bog, it causes a lack of decomposition of other plants resulting in the lake filling-in and slowly converting the ecosystem into a bog.

The Laurel Lake Bog is noted for samples of prehistoric pollen, which have been extracted from the bottom of the old lake bed as well as carnivorous plants unique to this area under each footstep.  One cannot place a value on the educational experiences this environment provides our students.

Laurel Lake spans about 6 acres.  The District's property also includes the bog, which encompasses approximately 2 acres.  The total property is 17 acres.

Laurel Lake is located on State Highway M-189.  It is 4.5 miles south of Iron River, Michigan.