At the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, we work to keep nature nearby by permanently preserving unique and vulnerable properties for the health of our communities, the benefit of wildlife, and the enjoyment of generations of Michiganders to come. To accomplish this, we focus our work on two areas: conservation and stewardship.
We use three methods to preserve land in West Michigan:
Nature preserves. The Land Conservancy owns and manages nature preserves throughout West Michigan. These preserves are open to the public and include hiking trails and scenic outlooks. The general public is welcome to enjoy these permanently protected preserves via low-impact activities like hiking, bird watching, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
The Land Conservancy owns 14 nature preserves totaling 525 acres of land.
Conservation easements. Landowners who want to preserve their land but maintain private ownership, work with the Land Conservancy to establish conservation easements on their property. Conservation easements are legal agreements between a private landowner and a land trust like the Land Conservancy that permanently preserves the natural qualities of the land by restricting certain development and uses of the land, but allowing the landowner to continue to own, use, and live on the land.
The Land Conservancy has helped 75 landowners establish conservation easements totaling 6,032 acres of land.
Public partnerships. The Land Conservancy assists local communities and governments in their efforts to create parks and preserve open space. Every situation is unique, but the Land Conservancy has worked in partnership with these groups by identifying important natural areas, negotiating transactions, writing grants, and coordinating and assisting project fundraising.
The Land Conservancy has helped governments preserve 11 West Michigan properties, totaling 1,804 acres of land.
Conserving land through nature preserves, conservation easements, and community parks is an important part of what we do at the Land Conservancy. However, it’s only the beginning of our work.
We are dedicated to increasing the awareness of the role healthy ecosystems play in sustaining our communities and to inspiring local citizens to become active participants in land and water conservation in the region.
Healthy, vibrant natural communities not only provide habitat for a diversity of native plants and wildlife here in West Michigan, they also provide unique resources that help support the varied economies of the region and provide opportunities for forging connections with family and community. And our stewardship efforts are particularly important because many of our properties are habitats for species that are endangered, threatened, or of special concern.
Our stewardship initiatives include property monitoring and restoration, community engagement, and educational events and workshops. Learn more about our stewardship projects and how you can help.