Our Mission:

Protecting significant natural, scenic and farm lands – and advancing stewardship – now and for future generations.

Our Vision:

By continuing to protect the region’s finest natural, scenic and farm lands over the next five years, the Conservancy of 2026 will have reinforced the foundation of a priceless legacy that all of us will pass on to future generations.  The region’s water will be clean, its forests resilient, its vistas unparalleled. Protected lands will be embraced as an essential element of the region’s long-term prosperity.  The health and well-being of the region’s residents and visitors will be enhanced by their use of our protected properties to hike, bike, ski, swim, relax and otherwise escape into nature.  A diverse employment base and talented workforce will be attracted by the region’s natural beauty and quality of life.  The region’s unique agricultural heritage will be manifest in viable farms supplying world-class products, burnishing its image as a travel destination, satisfying local desires for fresh foods, and enhancing food security.

In order to achieve our vision, the Conservancy is led by diverse and knowledgeable staff and board members who are invested in and passionately committed to its mission. We rely on the generosity of partners, donors, volunteers and other supporters who share our deep concern for this region and joyfully contribute in myriad ways to our success. 

Our Values:


We are committed to excellence in everything we do. We employ best practices, strive to enhance our skills and knowledge, and measure our performance against exacting standards. We work hard and carefully manage our resources in order to deliver outstanding results timely and efficiently.


For those to whom much is given, much is required. As the recipient of incredibly generous support, we feel a deep responsibility to aggressively pursue our mission, not only by protecting and stewarding outstanding properties, but by engaging and educating political representatives, partners, donors, volunteers and others regarding the critical environmental issues affecting the region. We intend to reinforce and expand our leadership role by operating the proposed Conservation Center as a hub of such activity.


We welcome everyone to experience the natural wonder of the Grand Traverse region by visiting our protected properties free of charge. Our universally accessible trails are an especially inviting manifestation of our commitment to serve all residents and visitors, regardless of age or physical ability. 


Reflecting the generosity of our own supporters, we freely provide our time, expertise and other resources to communities, like-minded organizations and individuals throughout our service area in pursuit of their needs and our mission. 


We are a team. We work together—inside and outside the organization—in the spirit of cooperation, collaboration and creativity. The result is deep, trusting, long-term relationships that contribute to the successful development and management of protected properties. 


Our internal and external relationships are founded on mutual respect. We welcome open dialogue and debate, confident that it will enable us to sharpen our best thinking, avoid pitfalls, and seize opportunities that may not be immediately apparent. 


We listen carefully and communicate clearly and openly in order to avoid misunderstandings and generate goodwill among everyone with whom we interact. 


We conduct our work with integrity in words and actions. We follow through on our commitments. Our mission is timeless, and to meet that challenge in perpetuity we must earn the trust of others by being trustworthy. 


In addition to responding to today’s obvious threats, we anticipate and address tomorrow’s emerging problems. We plan for change.

To read our 2021-2026 Strategic Direction, click here.