*The fundraising need for this project reflects the dollars GTRLC must raise in addition to a $2.3 million grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, which was approved in December 2023, and $746,245 in required local matching funds from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, which Traverse City voters approved in November 2023. 

A beloved Traverse City park could soon receive a substantial expansion that would protect a contiguous tract of high-quality wildlife habitat, safeguard water quality within the Boardman/Ottaway River watershed, and enhance access to nature at one of the region’s most treasured outdoor destinations.

GTRLC is working with the City of Traverse City to acquire two properties adjacent to the Brown Bridge Quiet Area (BBQA), totaling 528 acres of land with a 43-acre lake. The addition includes a 300-acre wooded lot with existing trails (part of the former Camp Greilick) and a 228-acre property encompassing nearly all of Spring Lake.

The proposed addition is predominantly dry-mesic forest with some riparian wetlands, and it provides spectacular wildlife habitat for rare species, including the state-threatened Trumpeter Swan, Red-shouldered Hawk, Osprey, Common Loon and Bald Eagle, a state species of special concern. The property’s protection would safeguard this critical habitat and permanently establish a substantial contiguous, undeveloped corridor.

Already, the 1,300-acre BBQA offers a range of recreational activities, including hiking, birding, cross-country skiing and fishing. By safeguarding the land surrounding the existing trail corridor that links the Boardman/Ottaway River Trail to the BBQA, Muncie Lake and the North Country Trail, the proposed addition would allow for the possibility to expand the six-mile trail system.

Additionally, the acquisition would enhance previous investments in a broad, community-supported plan to revitalize the Boardman/Ottaway River watershed. The section of the Boardman/Ottaway River that flows through the BBQA is part of a large-scale effort to restore the river’s natural connectivity, flow and habitat. By preserving critical nearby wetlands, which filter sediment and pollutants before they enter the water, the property provides the river a significant buffer from future development.

GTRLC is assisting the City of Traverse City with a land acquisition application to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) to cover a portion of the project cost.

The City will seek voter support in the November election to use funds from the Brown Bridge Trust for the required local match. Traverse City residents have a history of supporting natural resource protection and outdoor recreation projects, such as previous land acquisitions at Hickory Meadows and Hickory Forest, as well as improvements to local parks. Should the voters support using the Brown Bridge Trust dollars for the local match, the MNRTF will decide on the project’s approval in December. GTRLC is working to raise the remaining dollars needed to protect the land.

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