Why and How?

A selection process for picking the State Soil from over 400 other Soil Series was started in the 1970's. The Kalkaska Sand was selected in 1983 as Michigan’s State Soil (image below).
L-Kalk-FayMF.jpg (273289 bytes)

Kalkaska was picked because:

it is found in both the upper and lower peninsulas,
was mapped on over one million acres,
it supports one of our chief industries (wood products),
is one of the original soil series in the State (first mapped in 1927), and
it is a beautiful, colorful soil that makes a fine display.

The Kalkaska sand was also picked for it’s complexity and fragility. Although this soil does well when it supports woodland, it fails as a good site for septic systems (too permeable) or as farmland (droughtiness).

On July 18th, 1991 over 150 conservation, government and environmental leaders celebrated the designation of Kalkaska Sand as the State Soil. The official site was in (where else?) Kalkaska County. The ceremony served as the starting point for a continuing educational process about soils in Michigan. This process will assure that the population and particularly our children will be aware of the diversity, fragility and importance of soil in our lives.

This material has been compiled for educational use only, and may not be reproduced without permission.  One copy may be printed for personal use.  Please contact Randall Schaetzl (soils@msu.edu) for more information or permissions.