The ecological powerhouse that is our Cedar River Preserve got bigger this year with the completion of two projects. Why does it matter? The Cedar River Preserve and its extensive undisturbed wetland complex provide not only a home for a vast array of wildlife, they also filter water entering Lake Leelanau and are a crucial hedge against pollution. If you enjoy the pristine water of Lake Leelanau, know that this area is helping to keep it that way.
“It’s all about protecting water quality and wetland habitat in the Solon Swamp,” says Yarrow Wolfe, the Conservancy’s Conservation Easement Program Manager who worked on the projects.
In the first project, we swapped our 80-acre Ansorge property in the swamp’s interior for 60 acres and 5,470 feet of frontage at the mouth of the Cedar River on S.Lake Leelanau. One of the ways that the Conservancy works to protect land is to buy available parcels and hold them until the State of Michigan can channel funding toward a purchase. This is called “Transfer and Assist.” We purchased the Ansorge property, which is surrounded by state-owned lands in 2005 with the hope that the State would acquire when funds were available. As it turned out, we were able to swap the land with the State and thereby increase management efficiency by consolidating some of our holdings. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to protect and manage all the land at the mouth of the Cedar River.
“Now when you fish or hunt this whole stretch of shoreline, you can be sure that the Conservancy will continue to manage the area in the wild and natural state it has always been,” says Jenee Rowe, Director of Conservancy Owned Lands. A new sign marking the area was installed this fall.
The second project was the purchase of the 44-acre Roggensee property, which lies just south of 100-acre parcel we protected in 2008 near the village of Cedar known as the HSH property. “Like the HSH land, the Rogensee property provides a second dry-land access point to state lands in Cedar and keeps the railroad corridor open for hiking and cross-country skiing,” adds Yarrow.
“I’m very glad that the Leelanau Conservancy has opened up the area,” says Tim McNeil, 23, who has hunted in the swamp for the last two years with his dad, Tim Sr. “I see more white-tailed deer down there that I’ve ever seen anywhere. It’s a really nice, beautiful area to hunt.”
“We have, since the very beginning, made this area a priority because of its ecological value,” says Brian Price, Conservancy Director. “We have a great relationship with the State of Michigan and are working together to protect as much land as possible in the entire Solon Swamp.”