Our Company


Sitting around the fire on a snowy Saturday night in 1977, a group of unemployed young professionals sipped local wine and dreamed about finding a way to live and work in northern Michigan. They loved the place- the Big Lake (Michigan), the inland lakes, the rolling hills, the common loons… They committed themselves to protecting the places they loved by working together and forming the White Pine Institute.

Almost 35 years later, many of these “Boomers” are still working together in northern Michigan and still passionately working to protect the rural landscape of this beautiful area and the awesome inland seas we call the Great Lakes..

In 1995, one of those young people, Peg Comfort, established a consulting firm, WHITE PINE ASSOCIATES. As president, Peg has overseen more than 70 projects and coordinated project teams with dozens of clients and our professional network of associates include biologists, botanists, foresters, lawyers, engineers, planners, designers and artists.


We are committed to thinking globally and acting locally. Our community service includes:


  • Japan- Great Lakes Delegation, World Water Conference
  • Kenya- World Lakes Conference & First African Lakes Conference
  • Mexico- Chiapas Water Project
  • Dominican Republic- Rotary Biosand Water Filter Project


  • Northern Lake Michigan Botulism Network
  • Grand Vision- Natural Resources Network
  • Grand Traverse Freshwater Roundtable


  • Michigan Audubon: Elk River Chain of Lakes Loon Network Project
  • Grass River Natural Area: Conservation Committee- Management Plan Project
  • Forest Home Township: Loon Nursery Preserve Project


Margaret Peterson Comfort earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN) and a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Bemidji State University (Bemidji, MN). She taught science and writing in the public school before founding WHITE PINE ASSOCIATES.

Peg has been recognized for outstanding community service in the Grand Traverse Region:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award (2005) and Environmental Educator of the Year (1995)
    Northwest Michigan Environmental Action Council (Traverse City, MI)
  • Outstanding Planning Commissioner in Northwest Michigan (2000)
    Northwest Michigan Council of Governments- Planner’s Review and Advisory Committee (Traverse City, MI)