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HOUGHTON, MI-A paper company has agreed to sell almost 3,300 acres of uncleared land to the state of Michigan, capping a campaign to keep the Keewenaw Peninsula open to the public. The deal gives the state of Michigan possession of 3,266 scenic acres previously owned and logged by International Paper.

The purchase is the second in a two-step process begun in February 2002, when Michigan bought 3,009 adjacent acres. The total price for the two sections was $12.5 million.

Combined with other land owned by the state and The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit agency, the purchases will create an 11,104-acre section of forest. The tract will include 13 miles of Lake Superior shoreline; a five-mile stretch of the Montreal River, a top-of-the-line trout stream; and three inland glacial lakes: Schlatter, Hoar and Copper.

The total 6,275-acre purchase is the largest ever for the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, established in 1976 to buy land for recreational uses with royalties from oil and gas development on state property.

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