From our 2007 Summer Newsletter
What better time than midsummer to celebrate even more precious wildlife habitat that will be protected at the Tip of the Peninsula!
With the signing of a purchase agreement in early July, the Conservancy will acquire 162 acres adjacent to our Kehl Lake Natural Area (KLNA). We’ll keep 40 acres of the 162 to add to our natural area, and then restrict and resell the other 122 acres to a conservation buyer.
KLNA has long been a destination of birders and wildflower enthusiasts because of its remote location, natural shoreline, and old-growth forest. It was one of our first natural areas, established in 1990. Since then, KLNA has been expanded on three different occasions, and with this most recent 40-acre addition, the natural area has nearly doubled from its original 113 acres.
The newest 40 acres is very close to our southern trail loop, and it affords the opportunity to expand this trail into mature upland hardwood forest, adding to the diversity of terrain within KLNA. Just as important, the other 122 acres we will sell to a conservation buyer will also protect this area long identified by the Conservancy as a critical stopover habitat for migrating birds.
“The Cathead Bay/Lighthouse Point area has long been a focus for protection by the Leelanau Conservancy for a couple of simple reasons,” says Conservancy President Tom Dunfee. “We had the luxury of building from a core of protected lands, primarily in Leelanau State Park, and we had a group of property owners who really appreciate the wild beauty of the area. Add to that the fact that conservation science points us in this direction – Cathead Bay is one of just a handful of Great Lakes Portfolio Sites identified by The Nature Conservancy in Michigan – and it’s easy to see why we’ve put so much effort into this area.”
And those efforts have certainly paid off. Beginning with the purchase of Kehl Lake’s original 113 acres in 1990, 16 projects totaling 625 acres have added to that core of protected land around the state park. In so doing, the vision of wildlife corridors connecting Northport Bay to Cathead Bay, and Cathead Point to Lighthouse Point, is taking shape (see map on pg 2). Here are the key additions just in the last six months.
- December 2006 – We received notification that 51 acres and 1,400 feet of shoreline at the very northeastern reaches of the peninsula will forever be protected through a $2 million Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant.
- June 2007 – We closed on our Lighthouse West Project, a $1.6 million, 42-acre property with 640 feet of shoreline on the northwestern coastline of the peninsula which is now forever preserved as a key component of this crucial wildlife area.
- July of 2007 – 162 acres of undeveloped lands adjacent to our Kehl Lake Natural Area protected, with 40 acres of upland hardwood forest to be added to KLNA.
With these recent additions, that long-term focus on one of the most wild and unique landscapes Leelanau County has to offer is really paying off. Now that’s worth celebrating!