2007-01-11 / News

140 Acres of Land Preserved at Cedarville

One hundred forty acres of land in Cedarville has become the Les Cheneaux Foundation Nature Preserve, following the Les Cheneaux Foundation's donation of land to Little Traverse Conservancy. The parcel includes one-half mile of shoreline along Lake Huron at the west entrance to the Les Cheneaux Channel. It also extends north from the water up to M-134, where 36 acres at the corner of the highway and Four-Mile Block Road will become a permanent green space. The property is at the west entrance to the village of Cedarville, and will be open to the public, as all conservancy preserves are, said Tom Lagerstom, associate director of Little Traverse Conservancy.

The new preserve was established in late fall and announced this month, along with nearly 3,000 acres of preserves and conservation easements established elsewhere in northern Michigan during 2006. The new Clark Township preserve will be adjacent to Marquette Island, which has the largest area of conserved property of all the Les Cheneaux Islands. At the end of 2005, 943 acres and 1.75 miles of lakefront were transferred to Little Traverse Conservancy's stewardship, placing a total of 1,200 acres of Marquette Island under protection from future development. The total acreage is comprised of three preserves established on the island, including the two-part Aldo Leopold Preserve at the north and south sides of the island, named for the legendary conservationist who spent summers on Marquette Island. The other two preserves are the Seiberling Stewart Preserve on Marquette Bay, and the Sheppard- Hardy Preserve on Cube Point.

Little Traverse Conservancy also established a conservation easement on 2,300 acres and three miles of river frontage in Chippewa and Luce counties near Newberry. The river frontage is on the Hendrie and Tahquamenon rivers in those counties.

On Drummond Island in Chippewa County, the conservancy bought two pieces, including an 80- acre parcel close to a recreation and marina area, and a 20-acre parcel near the island's Four Corners area. The Conservancy plans to further develop the trail network already on the 80 acres and promote public use of the land.

The conservancy also bought a 140-acre addition to the Round Island Point Preserve in Chippewa County, southwest of Sault Ste. Marie. The additional acreage will increase the preserve's size to 1,024 acres.

In the northern Lower Peninsula, the conservancy placed conservation easements on 446 acres of privately owned land along US-31, in Charlevoix County; and established a conservation easement on 63 acres of private property in Emmet County.

Little Traverse Conservancy's work in 2006 included 24 land protection projects that permanently protect 3,475 acres of land as nature preserves or under conservation easements. The conservancy is a 34- year-old nonprofit organization that has more than 175 nature preserves in northern Michigan. It also monitors 153 conservation easements on privately owned properties in Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Mackinac, and Chippewa counties.

A conservation easement is a legal vehicle by which conservancies prevent future development of land. Land owned by a conservancy and established as a preserve must be open to the public, however the conservancy may limit certain types of use on those lands considered detrimental, such as campfires or timber harvesting.

Little Traverse Conservancy also provides environmental eduation, and estimates that 5,000 young people have participated in an environmental education program offered at nature preserves and natural areas in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula.

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