New Conservation as Year Ends
A little extra celebration was had this holiday season as a flurry of land protection happened in the last days of 2017. Two conservation agreements were completed as the year wrapped up, bringing the 2017 total to six new conservation agreements and the total acreage protected by the Land Conservancy to over 11,000 acres.
MacDougall Family Conservation Agreement
The Pere Marquette River is a magical place in any season, though most people enjoy it in the warmer months, fishing in the spring and fall and canoeing and kayaking in the summer. But on a cold day, with ice floating by on the river, these 81 acres were officially protected and will now remain natural and scenic in all seasons, forever. The property has been in the MacDougall family since the early 20th century and has a rich history on the river. A fishing lodge still remains on the property, known simply as “MacDougall Lodge.” The property contains nearly a mile and a half of river frontage on the main branch of the Pere Marquette River with white pine and white oak forests, conifer swamps, and old fields covering the rest. The Pere Marquette Wild campaign, which has the goal of protecting 10 new miles of the river, received a boost with this addition and now stands at 6.4 miles protected since launching the campaign. A 319 grant from the Nonpoint Source Pollution Program of the Michigan DEQ helped in the protection of the property.
Cooper Family Conservation Agreement
As the year came to a close, the Cooper Family was able to put the finishing touches on an agreement that will protect 120 acres in Kent County near Lowell, Michigan. The property contains a high quality oak/pine forest and many pockets of oak barrens, thanks to the careful attention and management of the property over the years by the owners. The natural features found here are relatively rare in the area, especially the oak barrens–a habitat that is defined as a critically imperiled by the Michigan Natural Features Inventory. The conservation will make sure that the forest remains intact forever, providing habitat to several rare species and providing a scenic backdrop for neighbors and passers-by. This is especially important since the surrounding area has undergone significant development in the past decades and has lost much of its natural character.