William B. Derby Preserve Is Established in Cedarville
The new sign marking the William B. Derby Jr. Nature Preserve appeared in August on property transferred December 2006 from the nonprofit Les Cheneaux Foundation to Little Traverse Conservancy. The 140-acre parcel includes one-half mile of shoreline along Lake Huron at the west entrance to the Les Cheneaux Channel, and 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 was part of the original Derby Farm of Cedarville, now mostly overgrown, with some fields and a few apple trees remaining. The land has frontage on the south side of M-134, and shore frontage on Les Cheneaux Channel and Mackinac Bay.
In 1978, William Derby wanted to sell the land or donate it to the Les Cheneaux Club, which owns adjacent land and a golf course on the Cedarville mainland, and a summer home association across Les Cheneaux Channel on Marquette Island. Three club members, George Covington, Bill McMillan, and Tad Carr, bought the property from Mr. Derby for $3,000. They established the nonprofit Les Cheneaux Foundation to hold the land and preserve it from development, and thus created Clark Township's first land conservancy. The Les Cheneaux Foundation went on to protect other parcels of land, including about 1,300 acres. Much of that has been turned over to Little Traverse Conservancy and comprises the Aldo Leopold Preserve on Marquette Island.
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. Hunting is allowed at the Aldo Leopold Preserve, but hunters must get written permission to do so.
Hunting is also allowed with written permission at the Birge Preserve in Hessel, Seiberling- Stewart and Sheppard-Hardy preserves on Marquette Island, St. Helena Island in Moran Township, and the Vosper Preserve on Bois Blanc Island.
In Chippewa County, the Bailey- Lagerstrom Preserve on Sugar Island and Round Island Point Preserve in Bay Mills Township are open for hunting with written permission.