Annually the EUP Regional Planning and Development Commission engages with MDOT on the Rural Transportation Planning program, this program provides annual transportation technical assistance in non-metropolitan areas of the state.  This funding is provided through the State Planning and Research (SPR) program to assist MDOT and the regional planning agencies in:

  • Planning technical assistance to member units of government in the EUP.
  • Planning technical assistance to MDOT.
  • Improving public involvement and the consultation process in non-metropolitan areas of the state.
  • Preparing access management plans and ordinances.
  • Non-motorized planning and mapping.
  • Byway Corridor Management Plans.
  • Data Collection to meet federal reporting requirements.

Drone Service Request

Free quotes and consultations!

  1. Aerial Imaging
  2. Aerial HD Videography
  3. 2D & 3D Mapping
  4. Asset Inspection
  5. and more.

Click link below to fill out the Drone Service Request Form and a EUP Regional Planning staff member will contact you.

Request Form

Economic Development in/for the region

Economic development has been at the heart of the EUP Planning and Development Region’s operations since its inception in 1968. Established under Michigan’s Act 46 of 1966, the organization is authorized under state statute to plan and direct economic expansion programs for the three-county region. This mission includes examining conditions that may affect the economy of the area, conducting technical studies and statistical research, initiating surveys and disseminating information related to economic development, and recommending ways to eliminate or minimize barriers to economic growth.

In all these efforts, EUP Planning serves as a link between federal, state and local governments. One of the agency’s primary funding sources is the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA).With EDA assistance, EUP Planning promotes regional participation in federal programs for public works, economic development, local technical assistance and land use planning. Every five years, EUP Planning prepares, in coordination with EDA, a comprehensive economic development strategy, and updates the strategy annually. EUP staff also assists member units of government in obtaining federal and state funding for local economic development projects.

Within the EUP region, economic development is seen as a multi-faceted undertaking that includes not only business development and job creation, but also transportation, housing, communication, community and environmental health, tourism promotion, outdoor recreation, quality of life, arts and culture. The region routinely partners with state agencies like the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan Works, Michigan Department of Transportation, Department of Energy, Great Lakes and Environment, Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, and a host of other state and local partners to address economic problems and create economic opportunities within the region.

Economic policy for the EUP region is developed in consultation with the Regional Economic Development Committee (REDAC), composed of local business, governmental and community leaders with economic concerns and responsibilities. REDAC membership also incorporates representatives from the four local economic development organizations within the EUP region: Luce County EDC, Chippewa County EDC, Sault Ste. Marie EDC and Mackinac Economic Alliance. More about these organizations can be found by linking to their individual web sites.

Environment & Land Use

In Michigan, the ground rules of community planning are laid out in state statutes called “enabling acts.” In these acts, the state gives local governments the authority to undertake land use planning and zoning provided the locality follows steps prescribed by the statute. Local planning and zoning are not mandatory; but if a community chooses to take on that authority, it must be done using the process set up by the state. This process is meant to balance the rights and interests of private property owners with the health, safety, and welfare needs of the community.

Michigan has been a leader in local land use planning and zoning.  The state adopted a statute enabling city and village zoning in 1921. In 1922, a real estate company in Ohio challenged the constitutionality of a similar state law in Ohio. That case made its way to the Supreme Court in 1926 (Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty). The court decided in favor of the village, finding that zoning and land use regulations are constitutional if the regulations are reasonably connected to the public welfare. The proof of that connection is found, in part, in the community’s master plan. Michigan’s 1921 zoning enabling act states that land use regulations “shall be made in accordance with a plan.” The plan provides the rationale for regulating land use based on health, safety, and welfare concerns documented in the plan.

Although cities and villages were the first local units enabled to conduct planning and zoning, state statutes were eventually passed to allow townships, counties, and regions to undertake plans as well.  Each of these statutes were somewhat different in scope and requirements meaning, in effect, that Michigan had four different laws for planning and three different laws for zoning. Understandably, the situation was quite confusing. After decades of debate, Michigan consolidated the prior laws into a unified whole under the Zoning Enabling Act (Public Act 110 of 2006) and the Planning Enabling Act (Act 33 of 2008). These are the state statutes that govern planning and zoning in Michigan today.

EUP routinely engages with local units of government across the Eastern UP on updates, amendments and development of Master Plans, Land Use Plans and various other strategies as they pertain to planning.

GIS & Data

The Regional Planning Commission provides mapping and GIS services to all units of government and Tribal Nations in the Region, our full-scale GIS department has layer data, shapefiles and an abundance of information at its’ fingertips.  In addition, EUP administers the county GIS program for Chippewa and Mackinac County’s respectively.  This collaborative and coordinated effort was initiated in 2013.  EUP provides support for the ongoing operation of a common GIS.  We also provide GIS support to county-level departments and local townships in each county.  The County’s and EUP combine funding and staff resources and share common information required to create a successful County GIS program.  The County’s provide funding annually to EUP to assist in the ongoing operation and maintenance of the County GIS system.   To learn more about how the GIS program can benefit your organization contact us at


The State of Michigan Department of Transportation partners with Pure Michigan to designate and promote scenic byways. This program offers many benefits, including economic development and community involvement and visioning. Three byways have been designated in our area, and EUPRPDC provides technical and administrative assistance to each of the advisory committees, including shepherding the development of a Corridor Management Plan (CMP). The purpose of preparing a Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan is to provide an understanding of a designated heritage route, what makes it a special place and why it should be preserved and promoted.

M-123 Tahquamenon Scenic Byway Info:


M-134 North Huron Scenic Byway Info:


US-2 Top of the Lakes Scenic Byway Info:

Past Projects


On Monday, October 30th 2017, the Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning and Development Commission hosted a Brownfield Lunch and Learn at the Little Bear arena in St. Ignace. For a PDF of the full presentation, click here!

Here are links to some helpful materials regarding Brownfield redevelopment:

Our Expert Panel included:

Ryan Londrigan, DEQ Brownfield Coordinator | ph: 89.891.6072 | email:

Jen Tucker, MEDC Community Assistance Team | ph:  906.201.4367 | email:

Bret Stuntz, AKT Peerless | ph:  248.302.1398 | email:

Mark Van Doren, AKT Peerless | ph:  906.440.6738| email:

Michael Larson, AKT Peerless | ph:  906.226.1136 | email:

Are there other development or community topics that you think we should host Lunch and Learns about? Let us know!


Rapids habitat on the St. Marys River has historically been impacted by various forms of development, including dredging, filling, diversion, and urban development. Construction of the causeway across the Little Rapids degraded the rapids and damaged the health of the native fish community.  However, with proper engineering and design, the site can be restored to provide foraging, spawning, and nursery habitat for a wide variety of sport fish as well as other aquatic organisms needed for a healthy river system. Planning for this project was locally initiated over two decades ago with input from local stakeholders guiding restoration efforts.

The big rapids that we associate with the locks and International Bridge were not the only rapids in the river. The “Little Rapids” were located between Sugar Island and what is now Rotary Park in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. These smaller rapids were mostly destroyed when dredging for navigation and construction of the island causeway leading from the Ferry dock greatly reduced the flow in that area. From 1928 until about 1960 there were three cuts, each about thirty feet wide, in the Sugar Island ferry causeway. These openings, which allowed water to flow from the north side to the south side of the causeway, had bridges across them for traffic. The openings were plugged around 1960, replaced by the two culverts, which only allowed for a much-reduced flow.

Based on recommendations following a feasibility study funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Program, the outdated culverts are being replaced with a 600 foot bridge. The increase in water flow will improve 50-70 acres of aquatic habitat.

Project Goals Included:

  • Water flow will be restored and this will cause an increased quantity and quality of fish spawning habitat, and habitat for other native plants and animals
  • The culverts needed to be replaced, and the new bridge will be safer and more usable than a causeway. A pedestrian walkway included in the bridge design will provide community opportunities for fishing, bird watching, and recreation
  • Recreational anglers already spend an estimated $2.5 billion annually in Michigan, with at least $7 million generated annually by fishing on the St. Marys River. The additional fishing opportunities created by this project will generate additional tourism revenue
  • This is the final project necessary to address habitat-related Beneficial Use Impairments at the St. Marys River and the last anticipated project for the US side of the Area of Concern This is a crucial step toward its eventual removal from the list of Great Lakes AOCs or “toxic hotspots”



Elevating the Eastern Upper Peninsula is the 2015-2019 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and the 2015-19 Regional Prosperity Initiative plan for the Michigan counties of Chippewa, Luce and Mackinac. This plan is not only a declaration of where those affecting economic development across various fields intend to see the region be by 2019, but it is a living document putting forth the first steps we will take towards a prosperous future.

“Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula will be a region in the world attractive to enterprise, students, tourists, and residents alike: where one can be immersed in a natural setting yet access 21st-century amenities; and where opportunity prevails through the application of modern techniques, collaboration, and mindful allocation of resources.” 

Development of Elevating the Eastern Upper Peninsula began in late-July of 2014 with a meeting of the Stakeholder Committee where regional assets and needs were identified and focus areas for this plan were established. Six focus areas were deemed priorities for developing this plan: education, economic and workforce development, health care, tourism and natural resources, agriculture and local food systems, and infrastructure. Since then, the Stakeholder Committee met twice more, the Regional Economic Development Advisory Committee—a smaller committee, which has been in place for the development of previous economic development plans—met five times (twice in conjunction with the Stakeholder Committee), and six focus-group meetings were held—one for each focus area.

Ultimately 65 partners worked to implement 24 strategies. Between 2015 and 2019, 92% of the 83 action items saw significant progress or were completely achieved.

This progress was documented annually in the performance reports under “CEDS & RPI DOCUMENTS” below.


Can families find their ideal home in our region?

In 2015, EUPRPDC, Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development, and the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region commissioned Land Use | USA to prepare a housing target market analysis (TMA) for every county in the Upper Peninsula. This project aims to provide housing developers with essential market knowledge to encourage private-sector investment in the types of housing in demand by those who choose to live in these parts of Michigan.

In addition to the studies, the most prevalent “LifeMode Groups” have been identified for each study area. These groups represent potential markets as defined by lifestyle and demographic characteristics. Detailed descriptions are outlined for each of the top potential markets for each community underneath that community’s retail study. Examining these descriptions can provide further guidance on retail development.

How can these studies be helpful?

These studies can inform a review of local policies for permitting, zoning etc. to ensure that they allow for growth that would meet the demand which is currently being met elsewhere.

Existing businesses can use this study to help determine if they are fully meeting their potential. Could a change in variety of offerings or how the business presents itself increase sales?

And this study can be used to support new investment, through guiding local entrepreneurs or attracting a second or third location of a successful business in a different community.

Products for the 2016 Housing Target Market Analyses:

In 2017, EUPRPDC commissioned the Gibbs Planning Group to prepare a retail target market analysis (TMA) for seven local communities. Empty commercial properties can be found throughout our region, and they are particularly unattractive in our downtown centers that cater to visitors. These studies are one step towards filling these vacancies. By identifying existing demand and proposing a potential for expansion in square feet, these studies offer concrete ideas for potential growth.

What is a Target Market Analysis?

It is the study of the types of people who are likely to live in an area and the types of housing they will likely demand; it projects which types of housing and how large of a supply will be needed based on anticipated growth patterns. For a more detailed explanation and the methodology that was used for this study, please consult pages 1 and 14-through-29, respectively, in the Housing TMA Workbook, which can be found below.

Stakeholders identified “Increasing the stock of attractive, affordable housing in the region” as a major infrastructure strategy last year; this project represents the public-sector culmination of the goal. See Elevating the Eastern Upper Peninsula, the region’s economic development plan for more information.

Completed 2017 Retail Target Market Analyses:

This page currently contains the request for proposals for the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation-Logistics Strategy. As the strategy is developed, EUPRPDC will publish relevant documents, drafts, and plans so that anyone can view and consume the information.

This project was funded by EUPRPDC, the Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Final Task 1 Report – TLS Feasibility

Final Task 2 Report – Strategic Actions

Sault Ste. Marie Bi-National Investment District

EUP Forest Industry Market Assessment 

A gap analysis and study of the non-emergency medical transportation services in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The NEMT Study is now available for public review and comment until December 10, 2021. Please provide comments to ellen at or by mailing to 2345 Meridian Street, Suite 109, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783.

In November 2019 Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress (UPCAP) applied for and received funding through the Michigan Health Endowment Fund’s 2019 Healthy Aging program. 

The purpose of the healthy aging initiative is to improve access and availability of integrated, comprehensive services for older adults and their caregivers, delivered in a person-centered way.  

Over the course of January, 2019 – November, 2021 the Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning & Development Commission along with Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development and Western Upper Peninsula Regional and Development Commission have worked together to develop the U.P. NEMT Study.

This page is intended to provide information on the Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Plan, funded through UP Commission for Area Progress (UPCAP) and the Michigan Health Endowment Fun.  

Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) is an important benefit for people who need assistance getting to and from medical appointments.