Huron Pines has been one of the leading conservation organizations in Northeast Michigan for more than 40 years, working to protect over 4.5 million acres. We continuously evolve our programs to meet new conservation challenges and to better serve our communities, natural resources and landowners. Over the past few years we have received more requests from landowners, conservation partners and agencies to provide more tools to permanently protect our special places. Based on these requests we have identified opportunities and gaps in this service in Northeast Michigan and are now increasing our capacity to offer more direct land protection tools.
Huron Pines has been able to dedicate more time and resources to long-term land protection efforts, and we were awarded a new grant from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, covering four years of work to build regional capacity and develop a sustainable conservation fund needed to protect and restore 10,000 acres of land and reconnect 50 miles of high-quality trout stream miles in Northeast Michigan. This aligns with our long-term strategic vision to protect 100,000 acres and 500 high-quality trout stream miles over the next 25 years, leading to more projects like Forever Duncan Bay and the acquisition of the Maghielse Property.
Duncan Bay is a unique natural area along the Straits of Mackinac located near the city of Cheboygan, made up of coastal dune and swale complexes. These five parcels of land connect the city of Cheboygan with a state park, providing greater access to natural areas to residents.
We are pleased to announce that Little Traverse Conservancy has completed purchase of the Duncan Bay parcels, totaling 317 acres of sensitive coastal wetlands and forests. Huron Pines was able to help secure funding for this purchase. Our ecological services staff is working closely with their stewardship team to plan for the restoration of these and neighboring properties. Our teams will be out this summer surveying for invasive species and contributing data to long-term management plans for the properties. Restoration will include trail maintenance, parking areas, wetland restoration and stream reconnection.
All these activities lead to more public recreation opportunities right in the community of Cheboygan! This project is funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation—Sustain Our Great Lakes program and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Coastal Program.
The Maghielse Property is a rare gem along the Au Sable River, made up of 1,020 acres with over 1.5 miles of frontage on the Blue Ribbon Trout Stream. Held by the Maghielse family for over 70 years, the family has decided to share the gorgeous land with the public by selling it to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Huron Pines worked closely with the DNR, the property owner and community leaders to secure a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) grant for $3.1 million for the State to purchase the property.
This was the largest single-family owned property in the watershed. The property is incredibly important due to its location, as it provides the connecting link between the State Forest lands to the north and south. Once in public ownership the property will be managed to ensure healthy forests and wildlife habitat while providing recreation use—continuing the legacy of the family who owned it for more than 70 years. This was made possible thanks to support from Crawford County, Frederic Township, the Grayling Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and conservation partners.