Duncan Bay is one of the most ecologically significant areas along the Lake Huron shoreline. While there are studies that document the diversity and rare species, it really hit home to me when we took the Huron Pines staff out to this coastal wetland last summer. To have our team of biologists, educators, and geographers out there – it was like setting kids loose in a candy store! A well-stocked candy store.
Fast forward a few weeks from that visit, when we had the Huron Pines Board of Directors visit Duncan Bay prior to one of their Board meetings. While “a little older” on average than our staff, the very same thing happened with our Board – it was like setting a bunch of kids loose in a candy store! The enthusiasm everyone had for exploring and protecting this place, it helped affirm our commitment to seeking out funding and developing a special partnership with our friends at Little Traverse Conservancy. We were able to accelerate the fundraising effort and their staff worked out the landowner deals to secure acquisition of the property, to be protected forever.
The City of Cheboygan had the foresight to see the value in protecting these lands and part of our partnership is to use the land to build trails that will eventually connect the City of Cheboygan with Cheboygan State Park. Now that the land has been acquired (five parcels purchased, totaling 317 acres), we’re also making plans to improve the habitat where needed, primarily through the removal of invasive, exotic species.
This work would have not been possible without the significant investment of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the support through the Sustain Our Great Lakes program, a public-private funding program that has helped advance our community conservation efforts in northern Michigan. The folks at Sustain Our Great Lakes are people that sure know a good idea when they hear one! Our habitat work was also jump started by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and generous individual donors.
Standing at Duncan Bay last week, as we began the ribbon cutting dedication that brought several project partners together, a bald eagle cruised from the Bay right over the heads of our assembled group. I don’t know that we needed any acknowledgement that this project was a home run for everyone, but it was a nice affirmation and a storybook ending to that phase of the project.
If you know of a special place to enhance or protect and are interested in forming this type of win-win partnership, please give us a call to discuss.
Thanks for your support, which makes these kind of successes possible. (The Eagle appreciates it as well!)