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Fur Trade

Excerpted from the Final Environmental Impact Statement / Management Plan (pdf) .

By the early 19th century, the trapping of beaver by Native Americans and Europeans had reached virtually every corner of what is now the State of Michigan. Animals usually were trapped by Native Americans, who exchanged the furs for manufactured goods at trading posts such as Mackinaw. American traders sent the furs down Lake Huron in canoes and later in sailing vessels to warehouses in Detroit. The furs were then shipped to Europe via Montreal or New York. The American Fur Company and the Northwest Fur Company had profitable buisnesses in furs during the early 19th century, but by the 1830s the supply of animal pelts was reduced drastically by over-trapping. The two companies then diversified their trade by branching into commercial fishing.

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