Watershed Area History

The Jordan Valley's natural history dates back to the retreat of the Wisconsin Glacier about 10,000 years ago. The ebb and flow of this giant ice shield created the random hills, valleys, river channels, lakes, and streams. Little is known about the valley's early cultural history except that indigenous peoples utilized these lands and harvested their resources for ages. Explorers, fur trappers, and missionaries were some of the first Europeans to visit this region.

Later, in the mid 1800's, homesteads began to appear around the river's mouth. In the late 1800's the logging era boomed. Most of the Jordan Valley was sequentially clear-cut. The Jordan River was used as a log driving stream supplying saw mills all around the Great Lakes. In the early 1900's, immense wildfires burned large areas of the watershed.

By 1925 most of the timber, saw mills, and logging camps were gone. Some people attempted to farm the cleared lands but soon found the thin soils unproductive. Many of these barren lands reverted to state ownership. Today these lands have been allowed to heal and are now part of the 25,000 acre Jordan Valley Management Area of the Mackinaw State Forest

East Jordan - 1883

Pictures show water level variations of the Lake Charlevoix's south arm and the mouth of the Jordan River.