Who we are. What we do. Why our work matters.
Our mission: Conserving the land, water and scenic character of Leelanau County.
Twenty five years ago the Leelanau Conservancy opened its doors with a big dream and a small group of individuals dedicated to the idea that the Leelanau Peninsula is a place that deserved our best efforts to protect its unique landscapes. We believed that with commitment and hard work, we could be successful in harnessing the love that people have for Leelanau into finding ways to protect land forever. Thus the Leelanau Conservancy was born.
Since 1988, the Leelanau Conservancy has been devoted to protecting the land and water that make the Leelanau Peninsula one of the most unique and beautiful areas in the U.S.
Spectacular sand dunes rising from Lake Michigan, pristine inland lakes, towering hardwood forests and landscapes shaped by glaciers all contribute to its unique beauty. Productive farmland, uniquely suited to growing cherries and other fruit, add to the features that make the Leelanau Peninsula a treasured place.
Leelanau’s assets provide many benefits to its people and wildlife. Our wetlands and forests are a haven for eagles and otters, deer and bear, showy lady slipper and the endangered Michigan Monkey Flower. All manner of birds gather at the tip of the peninsula to feed and rest before making their way across Lake Michigan during their bi-annual migrations.
Leelanau’s farms provide both an abundance of fresh and nutritious local foods, as well as commercial crops of cherries, wine grapes, apples and other fruit. CSA’s thrive here and small-scale, value-added agriculture fuels our local economy.
Residents and visitors alike find Leelanau a place to call home, taking pride in our charming small towns and tight-knit communities. Each person cherishes this area in their own personal way. But the common feature is the land and water, which gives us beauty, serenity, inspiration, recreation, employment and a sense of community. The Leelanau Conservancy’s mission is to understand those landscapes that are essential to the uniqueness and way of life of the Leelanau Peninsula, and to permanently protect them.
As the winner of the 2012 National Land Trust Excellence Award, the Leelanau Conservancy has earned a reputation as one of the premier land trusts in the country, with projects touching lives and saving land in each of Leelanau’s 11 townships. Since our formation in 1988, we have preserved 10,070 acres and over 35.4 miles of shoreline/stream and river frontage. Our staff has completed 145 conservation easements, working with families and farmers to preserve cherished lands. Harnessing the power of many members and supporters, the Conservancy has the notable record of protecting over $4.00 of land for every $1.00 privately donated.
During our first 25 years, we launched a farmland preservation program, established a renowned water-quality monitoring program and created 22 Natural Areas and Preserves and Forest Reserves. Some of the best views, most sensitive wetlands, and biggest working farms have been forever protected because of the Leelanau Conservancy. With over 4,000 donors each year backing us up, the Conservancy is making a very real difference in what Leelanau County is to become.
Meet our Board
Currently, 20 people in addition to our founders and honorary chairman bring their hearts, minds and resources together around the table to preserve the best of Leelanau.
Meet our Director
Brian Price, Executive Director, has been the Leelanau Conservancy’s executive director since our inception in 1988
Meet our Founders
Ed and Bobbie Collins’ vision over two decades ago was an incredible gift to everyone who loves Leelanau.
Meet our Staff
The Leelanau Conservancy staff and board is committed to protecting and preserving fragile and sensitive lands in Leelanau County.