Thanks to a generous supporter, donations for this project will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000.
GTRLC has an exciting opportunity to preserve an ecologically significant, 114-acre property that would safeguard water quality, extend the protection of a rare coastal ecosystem, and connect fragmented wildlife habitat in the Platte River Watershed, an area facing increasing development pressure.
The proposed Birch Point Nature Preserve borders the southern section of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a less-visited area of the park known for its backcountry wilderness, abundant wildlife, and the outlet of the Platte River.
Notably, this parcel is part of the globally rare, 2,600-acre dune and swale complex found near Lake Michigan’s Platte Bay. This biodiverse natural community only occurs around the Great Lakes shorelines and is characterized by a mix of wetlands interspersed with ridges of dry-mesic forest. This type of habitat is critical for plants, animals, and insects that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
The proposed preserve would also establish an important migratory corridor between Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and several nearby protected lands. While its northern border is contiguous to the southern end of the national lakeshore, the southern end of the property abuts state land, which itself borders a privately held conservation easement on Rush Lake. Collectively, these properties total nearly a mile of frontage on Rush Lake.
While not physically linked, the property is only a short distance from several other protected properties, including Embayment Lakes Nature Preserve and Mount Minnie Nature Preserve. Together, these lands protect a significant tract of undisturbed habitat for species like bobcats, black bears, and red-shouldered hawks, which require large areas for diversity and dispersal.
Protecting the proposed preserve in its natural state would also further safeguard the water quality of surrounding inland lakes and groundwater by preventing nutrient inputs associated with development.
Plans for the property include a relatively short, sensitively designed trail. Read more about this project in our Landscript, here.