Huron Pines, in partnership with Alabaster Township, is launching a public fundraising campaign to garner financial support and raise awareness to ensure the permanent protection of nearly a mile of Lake Huron shoreline south of Tawas City.
The property was taken off of the real estate market in 2020 when it was purchased by Huron Pines with a short-term loan. Now, Huron Pines and Alabaster Township are working together to raise the funds necessary to turn the property into a public nature preserve that will be protected from private development indefinitely.
“With growing demand for Northern Michigan real estate, we are more convinced than ever that this property would have been purchased for commercial or residential development if we hadn’t been able to act quickly and secure a loan for the property,” said Brad Jensen, Executive Director of Huron Pines. “That was only the first step. Now we’re working to secure permanent protection, and public support is going to make all the difference in our success.”
Under permanent protection, this 145-acre property would become the Lake Huron Coastal Preserve, a public nature preserve owned in perpetuity by Alabaster Township and supported by the stewardship of Huron Pines.
Huron Pines and Alabaster Township have raised just over $1M from foundations and individuals so far, but additional funds are needed to reach the $2.5M total cost to cover the purchase price of the property and to establish an endowment for continued maintenance and stewardship of the land.
Alabaster Township submitted a grant proposal to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund in April to purchase the property from Huron Pines, but Trust Fund support is not guaranteed and a final decision will not be made until December of this year.
“We saw strong support for the project during the Trust Fund application process, especially in the form of public comments from local residents and visitors from across the state,” said Heather Huffstutler, Huron Pines Land Protection Director. “We hope to capture that same positive spirit of support with this fundraising campaign.”
Huron Pines and Alabaster Township are mobilizing local, regional and statewide support to strengthen the case that coastal land protection and Lake Huron access are a priority for the public and that this property is a critical asset to the region.
“We want to see this property become a place for the public to experience nature and enjoy Lake Huron,” said Stephanie Wentworth, Alabaster Township Supervisor. “Every dollar we raise helps us build a future for the property that protects it from development and supports future opportunities like new trails and better, safer public access points.”
Supporters of the Lake Huron Coastal Preserve are encouraged to give donations at any level as a way to show future investors the overwhelming public support for the property. People can learn more and donate at huronpines.org/lakehuron.
Reaching the $2.5M financial goal will permanently protect nearly a mile of Lake Huron shoreline; support direct and safe public access to Lake Huron; support the creation of new trail connections between Lake Huron and the Alabaster Township Bike Path and Arboretum; and preserve essential habitat for migratory birds in one of the most important migration pathways in North America.
Huron Pines is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1973 to conserve and enhance Northern Michigan’s natural resources to ensure healthy water, protected places and vibrant communities. With offices in Gaylord and Alpena, Huron Pines strives to improve economic, environmental, educational and recreational opportunities throughout Northern Michigan.
For the latest Alabaster Township news and information visit alabastertownship.com or call 989-362-3171.