Last fall, when staffer Kim Hayes visited the Allan J. Heffron Trust property near Lime Lake, she spotted bear scat. A few months later, on a winter visit, she discovered a hefty paw print along a snowy path. “I was so excited,” says Kim, Director of Farmland Protection. “It was just great to see bear presence in different seasons suggesting that bear is living there.”
Giant white pines, a rich conifer swamp and diverse wetland habitat nurture a plethora of wildlife and plants on this special land. Plus, groundwater streams from the Heffron property feed into nearby Lime Lake, contributing to the lake’s high water quality and stellar fish habitat. What a place.
In June, thanks to past unrestricted gifts to our land protection fund, we were able to purchase this ecological gem from the Allan J. Heffron Trust. The acquisition is located at the corner of Narlock and Maple City roads. On the other side of Maple City Road lies the new 26-acre “Pat’s (Lovasz) Preserve at Lime Lake” with 1,000 feet of shoreline (see map below). The Preserve is named for project donor Ron Lovasz’s beloved late wife.
Pat Heffron and her late husband, Allan, bought the two parcels totaling 30 acres in the 1980s. “We knew then that it was an important parcel of the watershed,” explains Pat. “Our intention was to protect the lake from what could have happened.” The Heffrons were significant donors to the Teichner Preserve project because of the love they and their extended family have for Lime Lake.
“Our kids all grew up fishing, water skiing and swimming on Lime Lake, and we have many cherished memories,” says Pat. “If you spend time on Lime Lake you can’t help but realize how unique it is; a hidden gem, really. The water quality is top tier in the state. We just wanted to protect those elements that have real value and to be good stewards of the lake.”
Last fall, Pat happened to attend a Lime Lake Association meeting where Executive Director Tom Nelson and Fund Development Director Meg Delor presented plans for the Conservancy’s new Preserve. “It was serendipitous,” says Pat. “I don’t always attend those meetings but was so excited when I learned about the project, and thought it would be perfect to try and incorporate our land someday.” Soon after, she and Kim began working together on the purchase.
Lime Lake Association President Dean Manikas, who presided over that meeting, is thrilled too. “We are extremely grateful to the Leelanau Conservancy and its contributing membership for the commitment to protect water quality in the Good Harbor watershed,” says Dean. “The new Preserve is a sensitive wetland with a meandering stream that filters and conveys the largest source of surface water to Lime Lake. Accolades go out to the team for their vision to cobble the private properties together to form this natural treasure.”