Miriam-Webster’s Definition of Stewardship: “The conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.”
We steward land in two ways: lands we own and manage that are open to the public (public lands) and with private conservation easements (private lands).
As the legal stewards of the lands in our care, we take the phrase “forever protected” very seriously. In seeking to protect fragile and significant elements of Leelanau, we must plan for their diligent and perpetual care. We also create opportunities for visitors to hike and enjoy our public lands.
Most of the land that the Leelanau Conservancy has protected remains in private ownership. Private lands are protected by perpetual conservation easements, or a voluntary legal agreements between a landowner and a land trust that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values.
Landowners retain many of their rights, including the right to own and use the land, sell it or pass it on to their heirs. To properly steward these lands, we must regularly communicate with landowners and monitor all of these properties to ensure the lands’ conservation values are forever protected.
Stewarding Private Conservation Easements
Since 1988, we have protected over 10,000 acres of private land in Leelanau County through conservation easements. These protected lands remain in private hands, but will never be developed thanks to a legal agreement called a conservation easement. These lands are not open to the public.Learn More
Stewarding Public Lands
We have protected over 3,800 acres open to the public that include over 40 miles of shoreline. These public spaces--such as our Natural Areas, Preserves and Forest Reserves--provide a natural connection to Leelanau County. They are places where wildlife and people can find solitude, where plants and insects can thrive undisturbed. They also provide wonderful opportunities for recreation including hunting, hiking, birding or biking. To find out more about these special places click here.Learn More
Biological Inventories and Research
We strive to protect native plant and animal habitat using the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI). We work with botanists and researchers to track our ecological communities and native plants and animals. Learn more about our collaborations that bring this focus to life…Learn More
Ecological Restoration & Invasive Species Management
From native plantings, to hand pollinating and seed collection, to controlling erosion, and monitoring for and removing invasive species, our stewardship staff and volunteers work year-round to maintain the high quality of our natural areas and preserves.Learn More
Visitor Use and Recreation
Find your Leelanau adventure at one of our 26 natural areas, forest reserves or preserves. All are open to visitors for everyone to enjoy. Whether you prefer the solitude of nature or a more active experience, our special lands offer endless opportunities for exploration. Find out more about how to get outside and play at our natural areas and preserves, including what types of recreation are permitted where.Explore Leelanau
Through our work with private landowners on forest management plans and timber harvest plans, and on our own forest reserves we participate in forest management ensuring the timber harvest is done sustainably and protects the conservation values of the properties we own or manage.Learn More