Friday, January 1, 2010

Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area Officially Protected

oval beach private property sign comes down
Nature Preserve sign replaces private property sign (photo from the Land Conservancy)
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from the West Michigan Land Conservancy

On December 22, 2009 the long battle to preserve the Denison Dunes came to a successful end. More recently owned by Don McClendon, this property adjoining Saugatuck's Oval City Beach Park has been disputed for many years. From now on the area will be known as the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area.

The cost of preserving this property has reached $22.1 million dollars (which includes management costs). There is still a need for $4.5 million to be raised from public donations. This is expected to be raised over the next three years, and during this time the city will lease the property from the Land Conservancy of West Michigan for a minimal but legal charge of $1 per year. The expected timeline will continue with an official fundraising kickoff in spring 2010, and the complete ownership transferred to the City of Saugatuck at the end of 2012.

The property is now open to the public for non-motorized recreation such as hiking, birdwatching, fishing, nature study, and photography. The 171-acre dune ecosystem includes 0.7 mile of Lake Michigan shoreline, rare plants and animals, dunes, interdunal wetlands, forests, marshes, and oxbow lake and access to the mouth of the Kalamazoo River. The historic site of "Fishtown" is included.

See Large Grant Almost Meets Purchase Price for Saugatuck Dunes
See Sides Step Back from Denison Dunes Confrontation
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virginia bed and breakfast said...

These area ll the great sightseeing which has been shown in all the pictures and all the great post with all the complete travel guidance and informative tips as well.

Anonymous said...

Many years ago, I was able to canoe through the swamp from the Kalmazoo river into Oxbow Lake without touching land. Is this kind of access legal again? This would be a beautiful place to take a kayak for photography. If not through the swamp, will there be any other legal way to get a kayak onto Oxbow Lake?

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