The Conservancy's Response to Covid-19 - The Leelanau Conservancy

The Conservancy’s Response to Covid-19

The Leelanau Conservancy office in Leland is currently open between 8:30am and 5pm. We do require masks indoors. However, many staff continue to work remotely. To reach a staffer, the best way to contact them is via email (find contact info here).

As of June 27, 2020: Volunteering is being reinstated in a limited capacity. All volunteers must fill out this liability waiver before volunteering. Click here for more details.

Our natural areas remain open to the public. Under the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-70, there is an exception that allows individuals to leave their home or place of residence, and travel as necessary: “To engage in outdoor activity, including walking, hiking, running, cycling, or any other recreational activity consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household.”

We are grateful to offer our natural areas and preserves as a place of respite for our community during this challenging time. We implore all visitors to strictly adhere to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines by remaining at least 6ft. apart. Many outdoor venues are very popular at this time. We strongly advise if you observe a parking lot or other area of a natural area appears too crowded to allow for social distancing, please search for another natural area or park. Directions to our properties can be found here. Please follow directional signage, as some trails are now temporarily one-way. Note that some trails are narrow. Please watch your step for fragile plants and small creatures when stepping off the trail to allow others to safely pass.

Very limited maintenance is happening at our natural areas right now during the Governor’s Stay at Home Order, as our stewardship staff are working from home and volunteer programs have been put on hold. Please be aware and hike at your own risk. 

The mountain bike trails at Palmer Woods Forest Reserve are now open. We’re grateful for everyone’s patience as we’ve been in the Covid-19 holding-pattern these past few weeks. Just recently we received some positive news—the Governor’s executive order (2020-70) allows us to resume our trail work, including inspecting and maintenance of our single-track trails at Palmer Woods. We’ve also consulted with the Benzie-Leelanau Health Dept., which encourages people to get outside for exercise, including mountain biking, as long as infection rates remain low in our area.

A few notes before hitting the trails. If you ride, please be cautious. Help us keep the trails open by following these simple but crucial rules:

-Maintain proper social distancing at parking areas and on the trails

-If the parking lot appears busy, please try again later or another day

-Ride with extra care and safety

-Don’t linger in parking areas or at trailheads

Please note: no restroom facilities are available at this time.

Stay safe, stay at home, and when you are able to spend time outdoors please do so responsibly – recreate close to home and strictly practice social distancing. Thank you.

That means that if you arrive at a natural area and the parking lot is full, please move on to another site.

We are paying close attention to state, federal and CDC guidelines and regulations. We will continue to update you here and on social media while we adjust to working in this unprecedented time. STAY SAFE! 


Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-21

CDC Guidelines- How to Protect Yourself and Others

American Hiking Society’s Guidelines for Hiking Responsibly: Frequently Asked Questions for Hiking During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Heart of the Lakes’ Social Distancing Adventure Hub

National Recreation and Park Association Statement on Using Parks and Open Space While Maintaining Social Distancing

Bring the #OutsideInside: Ideas to enjoy nature from the comfort of your own home from Conservancy staff.