We think about the area we serve in terms of watersheds, coasts, scenic transportation corridors, and vital clusters of our region’s working farms and forests. By considering our community in this way, we are able to evaluate how certain land uses and protection efforts will impact the things our community values – access to our majestic shorelines; opportunities for hiking, birding, canoeing, biking, fishing, and other outdoor activities; safe, clean water; respect for private property rights; and a healthy economy.

Fully accredited by the Land Trust Association, the Conservancy is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with our own by-laws, policies, board, budget and staff. Our service area includes Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Manistee Counties.

Among our staff, our land protection experts use a variety of conservation tools to protect significant natural and working lands. Our stewardship team documents natural and man-made features on protected land, monitors over 200 conservation easements and maintains our 34 nature preserves. Our fund development and outreach teams creatively build relationships with individuals and foundations to secure the resources necessary to protect water quality, natural lands, working lands, scenic views, and places where people can enjoy nature. On every level, our work is supported by hundreds of volunteer colleagues.

We focus our land conservation efforts to permanently protect crucial wildlife habitat and corridors; critical watersheds, which protect the water quality of our region; unique high-quality farm lands; valuable forestland; and ecologically significant dunes along Lake Michigan’s beautiful and endangered shore. We protect land in several ways:

  • By working with landowners to permanently protect private land through voluntary conservation easements
  • By acquiring high quality natural lands by purchase or donation to create Conservancy owned nature preserves which are open to the public
  • By assisting local units of government in creating or expanding public parks and natural areas that result in enhanced public access to nature and improved recreational opportunities
  • By providing technical assistance to local units of government with the administration of farmland protection programs

Our conservation mission is an investment in our community and the generous gifts from our supporters have leveraged over $75 million in state and federal grants to our region.