Barrier Dunes Sanctuary Addition Case Study

County: Muskegon Established: 2016

The Land Conservancy of West Michigan and White River Township worked together on this community partnership project to expand Barrier Dunes Sanctuary and remove a decades-long threat of development.

The White River Township Barrier Dunes Sanctuary is a scenic treasure on the Lake Michigan shoreline near the White Lake channel. Adjacent to the public park was a land-locked, privately owned parcel. For years, the owners wanted to develop this property and build an access road through the heart of Barrier Dunes Sanctuary, disrupting this sensitive natural area.

In July 2015, the Land Conservancy kicked off a public campaign to raise over $970,000 to purchase the adjacent property to expand the Sanctuary and protect it permanently from development. In December 2015, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund recommended a grant for the final $300,000 needed to complete the project by the July, 2016 deadline.

With the help of over 300 donors and through partnership with the Land Conservancy, White River Township closed on the neighboring property, added it to the park, and forever protected this area from development.

Project impact

  • Enhances and expands the scenic and natural resources available to the public at the Sanctuary.
  • Protects the integrity of the existing park and maintains the natural character of the Sanctuary.
  • Buffers the dune and wetland resources from destructive uses, such as a road and adjacent residential development.

Special Thanks

This project was been made possible in part by grants from Alcoa Foundation, The Carls Foundation, the James Hanna and Mary H. Murphy Land Fund and the White Lake Community Fund of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, Consumers Energy Foundation, the Frey Foundation, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, and the J.A. Woollam Foundation.

See a video tour of the Barrier Dunes Sanctuary at
Explore Barrier Dunes Sanctuary

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