Flower Creek Dunes Addition Complete
17-acre Addition to Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve is Complete
The Land Conservancy of West Michigan has announced the completion of a campaign to add 17 acres of Lake Michigan sand dunes, including 1,000 feet of Lake Michigan frontage and 1,200 feet along Big Flower Creek, to Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve near Montague.
The Land Conservancy established the original 14-acre Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve, located just north of Meinert County Park in Muskegon County, in 2012. The 17 adjacent acres to the north were privately owned and listed for sale in 2016 and again in the spring of 2017. When an anonymous donor came forward with a generous gift and a passion to add this piece of property to the preserve, the Land Conservancy launched a $1.95 million campaign to fulfill the dream of expanding the preserve to more than double its original size.
Flower Creek Dunes is home to the federally endangered Pitcher’s thistle, a flower that grows only in sand dunes along Lake Michigan, Superior and Huron. Its habitat is threatened by residential and commercial development of sand dunes.The addition will double the protected habitat for the species. Piping plovers, another endangered species, have also been spotted on the property, stopping along their migration route.
Over the winter, the Land Conservancy removed a cottage which stood at a high point on the dunes addition. Its former footprint will eventually become a Lake Michigan lookout for visitors to the preserve. The removal of the cottage stands out as a rare conservation victory showcasing the reversal of developed land into natural, healthy, publicly accessible dunes for all to enjoy.
In the coming months, the Land Conservancy plans to extend the existing John J. Helstrom Dune Ridge Trail on the preserve, connecting the two parcels and also adding a lookout over the beautiful Great Lakes marsh, to the north.
The Land Conservancy will hold a public hike and dedication of the new addition on Saturday, May 19 at 2:00 PM, gathering in the parking lot at Meinert County Park. Click here for more details.
This project is made possible with support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the J.A. Woollam Foundation, the estate of Elizabeth C. Getz, a grant from the James Hanna and Mary H. Murphy Land Fund of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County and additional gifts from over 140 passionate donors.