$1.7M Approved to Fund Lake Huron Coastal Preserve

Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Approves Grant for Coastal Protection Project from Alabaster Township and Huron Pines

Alabaster Township, MI — Alabaster Township has secured funding to permanently protect nearly a mile of Lake Huron shoreline with the help of conservation organization Huron Pines. On Wednesday, December 1, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) recommended fully funding the proposed $1.7 million grant request. The money will allow Alabaster Township to purchase the 145-acre property in southern Iosco County for permanent protection and public use.

Natural resource protection and conservation nonprofit Huron Pines bought the property in 2020 as a temporary measure with a loan from The Conservation Fund. Alabaster Township will use the Trust Fund grant to purchase the property from Huron Pines to create a lakeshore township nature park. Huron Pines worked closely with the township over the past year to establish land management processes, raise funds for the property, secure public support and submit the grant proposal to the MNRTF.

The MNRTF funds come from royalties on the sale and lease of state-owned minerals (primarily oil and gas). Over the past 45 years, the MNRTF has granted more than $1.2 billion to state and local units of government to develop and improve recreation opportunities in Michigan.

“We’re so excited for the community of Alabaster and all the people who love to come up north and enjoy Lake Huron,” said Huron Pines Executive Director Brad Jensen. “This project has been a true partnership, with so many individuals and groups helping to make sure the funding was available to protect and enjoy this stretch of shoreline for generations to come.”

Huron Pines was able to raise over $1 million thanks to foundations, private funders and individual donors. The MNRTF’s requirement for local match contributions will be fulfilled with funds from The Carls Foundation; Elizabeth, Allan and Warren Shelden Fund; Walters Family Foundation; John Woollam; The Albanese Family Fund; Alabaster Township; Donette and Gary Spiekerman and the many individual supporters who gave during the public fundraising campaign.

“Alabaster Township is deeply committed to the creation of a destination-quality preserve showcasing the unique Lake Huron shoreline and the beautiful, nearly 100-year-old second-growth forest,” said Alabaster Township Supervisor Stephanie Wentworth. “This is a success only because of our strong partnerships, public support and volunteers. We are excited for all that 2022 has in store to create this public space.”

Now that the grant has been approved, the next step is for funds to be appropriated by the Michigan Legislature in the spring of 2022. The goal is to transfer ownership of the property from Huron Pines to Alabaster Township by the end of 2022. The property is currently open to the public for hiking and exploring. Hunting and motorized vehicles are prohibited within the property. Biking is allowed on the Alabaster Township Bike Path and Arboretum that runs through the property. Alabaster Township will continue to work closely with Huron Pines to finalize a management plan for the property which will include longer-term plans to expand trails and improve access to Lake Huron.

For more information, contact Heather Huffstutler at Huron Pines, 989-448-2293 x11.

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 improves 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.

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