Jennifer Jay, GTRLC Director of Communications
Phone: 231-929-7911 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth Friend, East Bay Township
Phone: 231-947-8719 Email: email@example.com
Jim Lamond, Chairman of Holiday Woodlands Preserve
Natural Resources Trust Fund Approves Holiday Woods Natural Area Grant
TRAVERSE CITY – The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) approved a $584,800 grant for the creation of an exciting new 145-acre natural area in East Bay Township. The Holiday Woods Natural Area will incorporate the existing 80-acre Holiday Woodlands Preserve off Five Mile Road and add an additional 65 acres of natural land between that preserve and the Mt. Holiday Ski Area. The MNRTF grant will allow East Bay Township to purchase both parcels and form the new natural area.
“I am thankful that the township is involved in areas of both conservation and development, as the balance of these seemingly divergent paths complement one another perfectly in a community’s development,” said Beth Friend, East Bay Township Supervisor. “The Holiday Woods Natural Area is a chance to conserve a substantial amount of ecologically and recreationally important property in an area projected to receive some of the highest long-term growth pressures of anywhere across the state
of Michigan.” Though the 80-acre Holiday Woodlands Preserve was temporarily secured by a citizens group in 2017, the group was struggling to make payments on the mortgage and risked losing the property, said group chairman Jim Lamond. After discussions with East Bay Township and the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, which was already in talks with owners of the 65-acre parcel, the decision was made to package both properties together and pursue a MNRTF grant.
“This is exciting, and it’s a huge relief,” Lamond said. “The property is safe, and that was the ultimate goal. We wanted to save this property that people really value, not only for now but into the future. We couldn’t have done this without the Conservancy.”
Mt. Holiday has agreed to handle maintenance duties of the new natural area. The Conservancy will raise less than $100,000 as a match to the grant. The initial 80 acre property remains open to the public and can be accessed from a driveway on the east side of Five Mile Road about a third of a mile south of Unity Church.
GTRLC Executive Director Glen Chown said the Conservancy was glad to play a role.
“This is an example of citizens identifying a treasured property and beginning the necessary steps to protect it for future generations,” Chown said. “Thanks to these citizens and the leadership of East Bay Township, the Conservancy was able to step in and help make this dream a reality.”
About the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy:
The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy’s mission is to protect significant natural, scenic, and farm lands – and advance stewardship – now and for future generations. Since 1991, the Conservancy has protected nearly 43,000 acres of land and more than 127 miles of shoreline in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Manistee counties. Protection is accomplished through a variety of tools, and all
projects require the participation of willing landowners. The Conservancy also owns and manages 35 nature preserves which are open to the public. For more information, please visit http://www.gtrlc.org.
About the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund
The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund takes money earned from the sale or lease of state-owned mineral rights and grants it to municipalities to acquire land for public parks and natural areas, and also to provide amenities on those lands. Since 1976, this fund has granted roughly $1.2 billion to such projects across the state. The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy has helped more than 15 local municipalities secure more than $67 million in trust fund money since its inception in 1991.