Photos by Tom Cadwalader
Being in nature cannot be untangled from our experiences there, whether that’s hunting with our grandfathers or camping with our best friends. Being in nature gives us all the opportunity to spend quality time learning, playing and connecting to the world around us and with the people we care the most about.
That’s why Huron Pines is so excited to open its first nature preserve. The Hubbard Lake Preserve will provide a peaceful escape into the forest just up the road from Hubbard Lake. The 80-acre property has two miles of trails for year-round recreation as well as two onsite structures that can be converted into classroom, office and meeting spaces. The preserve will be a place for residents, visitors, local organizations and schools to enjoy.
Because the property sits on a hill, the trees and other vegetation naturally filter the water that flows from the top of the hill down into the wetlands and lake below. By protecting this land from development, the quality of the water in the area is also protected.
This unexpected opportunity came to Huron Pines as a generous gift from John and Wendy Frye. The gift is made even more significant by the fact that John is a Habitat Project Manager at Huron Pines. John and Wendy owned the property for the last 15 years, “first calling it home, and then calling it camp,” Frye said. “This fully wooded property is the backdrop of countless family memories, and in our opinion, is one of the most unique and beautiful properties in the region.”
Huron Pines intends for the Hubbard Lake Preserve to be a place where people build memories—where grandparents take their grandchildren for walks in the woods, where third graders learn how the forest helps keep the water they swim in clean. There’s no better way to guarantee the protection of natural resources than to give people an opportunity to experience wonder and awe for the natural world.
“When you say ‘Hubbard Lake,’ it gives me a good feeling. That was one of the happiest times of my life. Sharing it with family and being out in the open,” explained Connie Schrieber, Treasurer of the Huron Pines board of directors. Schrieber started visiting Hubbard Lake when she was just 6 years old. It’s the place where she first built a connection with nature, where she learned to fish and swim and as she puts it, “appreciate the beauty of the trees and shade and being outdoors.” She believes, and so does Huron Pines, that, “everybody should do that, should have that opportunity to be exposed to [the outdoors] and just fall in love with it.”
Schrieber’s sentiments are in line with the vision for the preserve that the Fryes have shared with Huron Pines. “Our goal is to create a nature preserve so residents and guests can enjoy a forested landscape forever—a place of peace and relaxation, research and education.” Huron Pines is honored to be the organization that the Fryes chose to entrust with this important task.
“I am familiar with the qualities an organization must possess to protect a piece of land,” explained John, who worked for a land trust in Northern Michigan and sat on a land trust board in Marquette. “Knowing that Huron Pines has the fiscal strength and motivated staff needed to steward the property, we are confident that they are the most equipped and prepared for our donation.”
Huron Pines is up to the challenge and looking forward to the many opportunities the preserve will hold for the future. The first step is to raise funds to start an endowment for the preserve and to cover the initial costs of maintenance, utilities, signage and seating that will make the preserve ready for the public to use.
In addition to providing residents and visitors with easy access to recreational opportunities, the long-term goal is for the preserve to support environmental education curriculum and research projects related to conservation and land management.
Huron Pines is seeking $65,000 in private funding to make the preserve fully accessible to the public.
An open house will be held at the preserve, 720 Holiday Inn Road, Hubbard Lake, on August 21 from 3pm to 6pm for anyone in the area who would like to ask questions or provide feedback on the future of the preserve.
To learn more or to donate to the preserve visit bit.ly/hubbardlake.
Aerial photo from the Hubbard Lake property looking out onto Hubbard Lake. Photo by Tom Cadwalader.