Originally established in 1999, the Keweenaw Land Trust's Paavola Wetlands Nature Area has gone through numerous expansions and now encompasses 215 acres of wetland and upland habitat just north of Hancock along the Copper Country Trail National Scenic Byway. A large pond is the focal point of this public nature area, with beaver dams stretching across much of the landscape. The property was once farmed by Finnish immigrants and their imprint on the land is still apparent to the keen-eyed observer. Scattered across the land are suo ojat, or "swamp ditches," hand-dug to drain the wetlands to make it suitable for growing food and raising livestock. Today the most significant relic is an old homestead, now at the center of a clearing surrounded by heritage apple trees.
Several miles of looped trail traverse the landscape, offering views of a large wetland which supports abundant bird life. The main parking area on No. 9 Road has handicap accessible parking spaces, a vault toilet, and leads to a half-mile looped trail usable by families and those with disabilities. Boardwalks lead you over wet areas and to a large lookout point on the pond, where visitors can watch birds and beavers at work. Buses can park and turn around in the looped parking area, perfect for school groups or large outings.
To get there from Hancock, take US-41 North towards Calumet. From the blinking yellow light at the top of Quincy Hill travel about 1.5 miles to the No. 9 road and turn right. Follow about 0.9 miles to the main parking area on the left side of the road. A smaller west trailhead is located partway down No. 9 Road but does not access the handicap trail.