Seward: On the Crystal River - The Leelanau Conservancy

Seward: On the Crystal River

17 Acres Near the Crystal River Forever Protected!

From our 2008 Spring Newsletter

A globally rare dune and swale wetland near the Crystal River has been forever protected. We purchased a conservation easement on 17.5 acres from the Rich Seward family that will restrict development in this delicate wetland.

“We’re grateful to the Seward Family, who worked closely with us on a plan that will greatly minimize the impact of any future residential development,” said Matt Heiman, Land Protection Specialist. “Every piece of land and every landowner agreement we work on is different. In this case, we really wanted to see the wetland remain undisturbed, so there will be no tree cutting or vegetation removed. In fact there will be no activity at all in the wetland.”

Rich Seward, who has been coming to the Glen Lake area since 1959, says is family is “all totally in love with Leelanau County and all it represents. I’ve spent every summer of my life here and now I’m enjoying having guests and getting them hooked on Leelanau.”

This is the first project that utilizes grant funds we applied for and received through the Clean Michigan Initiative program for the Glen Lake/Crystal River watershed. The grant and matching funds we raise will be used to protect lands in the watershed that are important to maintaining the high water quality of Glen Lake and the Crystal River.

The land is adjacent to the Sleeping Bear Dunes but is not open to the public because it is privately owned. But the project yields immense public benefit. “This wetland helps to filter water that enters the nearby Crystal River, which we worked very hard to protect,” says Heiman. “It is also a rare commodity that shelters an abundance of plant and animal life.”

Seward says that he’ll turn around and use the funds gleaned from this project to buy more land, and protect that too. He views himself as a “catalyst” and hopes his neighbors and others will follow suit. “I had a wonderful experience with the Conservancy,” he says. “Matt in particular…I applaud him for his patience in going through the whole process of figuring out tax deductions. He went to extreme lengths to make sure everything was done correctly, and I really couldn’t give him any higher marks.”