Due to the natural and historic significance, the Land Conservancy partnered with the City of Saugatuck to permanently protect this treasured natural area. In December 2011, Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area transferred to Saugatuck to become a city park.
For much of the 20th century, this area was in private ownership and was not open to the public. For the first time in a century, this area opened to all members of the public for hiking and the enjoyment of its outstanding scenic and natural features.
- Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area has interdunal wetlands which are considered to be globally imperiled because of their rarity and because factors such as coastal development make them vulnerable to extinction throughout their range. Protection of these wetlands provided an important impetus for setting aside the surrounding area as a natural area.
- Protects populations of at least six rare plant and animal species including the prairie warbler (state endangered status) and Blanchard’s cricket frog (state threatened).
- Includes an amazing diversity of habitats, including Lake Michigan shoreline, open dunes, interdunal wetlands, natural jack pine forest, hardwood-pine dune forest, Great Lakes marsh, an oxbow lake and Kalamazoo River shoreline.
- The historic site known as “fishtown” is located on the property.
Grants from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and the Coastal & Estuarine Land Conservation Program, along with generous donations from more than 600 private donors were crucial in achieving this goal.
Read more about the project in this Case Study from Heart of the Lakes.