The Biological Station property has grown to approximately 10,000 contiguous acres on and around Douglas Lake. UMBS also owns a 3,200 acre tract on Sugar Island in the St. Mary’s River near Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. All of it is open to the public. Almost all of it is designated as a nature research area, with minimal disturbances allowed.
Because of the Station’s long history of education and research, UMBS has received special designations — as a Biosphere Reserve from the United Nations Man and the Biosphere program, and as an Experimental Ecological Reserve from the National Science Foundation.
The actual campus is laid out in the form of a small village along South Fishtail Bay on Douglas Lake. There are approximately 150 buildings for housing, dining, teaching, research, maintenance, and recreation.
Accommodations for the Station community range from 70 one-room cabins, 30 larger two- to six-room cabins, and a 14-room dormitory. A spacious dining hall/kitchen is capable of seating over 275 people. Year-round residents use winterized cabins or homes.
The largest building is the Alfred H. Stockard Lakeside Laboratory with 24,000 square feet of floor space especially designed for biological research. The Marian P. and David M. Gates Lecture Hall is the principal venue for intellectual and cultural exchange on the Douglas Lake campus. It has a 220-seat auditorium, a 100-seat seminar room, and a kitchenette.
The library is one of the best among inland field stations, holding over 10,000 volumes and noted for its collections in limnology, ornithology, ecology, systematics, taxonomy, and natural history.
UMBS holdings, together with other public lands in the region, contain a rich diversity of natural habitats: extensive forests of pine, northern hardwoods, conifer swamps, and successional aspen stands, fields and meadows, pine plains, all types of wetlands, and rivers and streams.