The Solon Swamp: 80 More Acres Protected
“This just feels like the right thing to do,” is what Anthony and Susan Ansorge said when they sold 80 acres of prime wetland habitat within the Solon Swamp to the Conservancy in late May 2005.
Mr. Ansorge approached the Conservancy this spring about the property south of Lake Leelanau, which is all but surrounded by state forest. The land is primarily white cedar wetland with mature white pines intermittently towering above the tightly packed cedar and spruce stands.
An appreciation for the unique plants and animals that require wetland habitats to survive is what motivated the sellers to work with the Conservancy. Mr. Ansorge was considering an offer on half the land from a group of hunters that wanted to fence it off and split it into four 10-acre tracts. He says he was concerned about the effect on wildlife movement and hunting success. He and his wife had always felt they would like to see it open to the public to enjoy its bounty of natural wonders, but could not afford to ‘give it away.’
The Ansorges felt that in order to keep the properties’ ecological features from being compromised by division and fencing they would need to sell to the State or to the Conservancy. Since the State is in a ‘holding pattern’ on purchasing additional lands, the Ansorges looked to the Conservancy. Discussions with Land Protection Specialist Matt Heiman led to a decision to sell the land to us for less than the private market would bring them.
The Conservancy hopes to sell the property to the State of Michigan for inclusion in the Pere Marquette State forest when state funds become available. In the meantime this special place will remain open to the public for hunting, fishing and enjoyment of the plants and animals that call it home.