January 20, 1985: The Michigan Moose Lift

Upper Peninsula of Michigan moose

Upper Peninsula of Michigan moose, photo by Greg Kretovic

Every so often, something I have featured on Michigan in Pictures will vanish from the internet, leaving whatever I shared as the only remaining source. Such is the case with one of my favorite modern Michigan stories, The Michigan Moose Lift of January 20, 1985. Click that link to read about this historic operation that relocated 59 moose from the Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario and led to the re-establishment of moose in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – somewhere north of 400 at last estimate*.

Here’s a very cool video from the DNR that does a great job of telling the story. Enjoy!

Greg took this photo of a large bull moose exploring the shoreline of an inland lake in Baraga County in October of 2012. View his photo bigger, see more in his slideshow, and definitely follow him at Michigan Nature Photos on Facebook.

* From the Detroit Free Press article on the latest biennial survey of Michigan’s moose population:

The latest biennial survey by the Department of Natural Resources produced an estimate of 323 moose in their primary Michigan range, which includes Baraga, Iron and Marquette counties. If correct, that would be a decline there of about 28 percent from 2013, when the estimate was 451.

Chad Stewart, a deer, elk and moose management specialist with the DNR, said the population could have held steady since the 2013 count but that the findings, including a decrease in the number of calves spotted with adult females, suggest a decline is the likelier scenario.

It is “quite possible that we’re looking at a considerable drop in numbers,” Stewart said Monday.

A smaller moose herd wanders the eastern U.P. Biologists have long estimated their number at around 100.

4 thoughts on “January 20, 1985: The Michigan Moose Lift

  1. We lived in the UP of Michigan from 1979 to 2007. At the time of the Moose Lift, I was a little busy raising 4 kids and I missed the opportunity to buy a moose lift poster put out by the DNR. If anyone has a copy and would like to sell it, I would love to have it for my kids who consider themselves Yoopers to this day. Loved your story!


  2. I would like to add a little story to yours. We ran a soccer club for children in the Marquette area. One day (1992) my daughter showed up to referee at a field in Chocolay Twshp. and found the children clustered together on the fenced-in field. As she walked up they shouted- there’s a horse on the field! She took a look and said, “that’s no horse! It’s a moose! Get out NOW!” The moose looked around and walked over to the fence (3 ft tall) and stepped easily over it into the woods! My daughter said it was the only soccer game to almost be canceled due to “moose on the field”.


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