Introducing Holiday Woodlands Recreation Area!

We are excited to celebrate the long awaited closing of the Holiday Woods Recreation Area!  In late 2019, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund approved a $584,800 grant for the creation of this exciting 145-acre natural area in East Bay Township. This natural area includes the Holiday Woodlands Preserve and an additional 65 acres of natural land between the preserve and the Mt. Holiday Ski Area. This grant, the Holiday Woodlands neighborhood group, East Bay Township, and the generosity of many donors made it possible for the township to purchase both parcels and form the new natural area. Thank you to everyone who made this shining example of community conservation possible!

East Bay Township is hosting a ribbon-cutting at 3 PM and we cordially invite you for hors d’oeuvres and a toast at the Mt. Holiday Lodge at 4 PM.

Please join us Thursday, July 28, 2022
3:00 – 3:30 PM – Ribbon Cutting at Holiday Woodlands Recreation Area 5 Mile Entrance
4:00 – 5:00 PM – Hors d’oeuvres at Mt. Holiday Lodge

Media Release: Natural Resources Trust Fund Approves Holiday Woods Natural Area Grant

Jennifer Jay, GTRLC Director of Communications
Phone: 231-929-7911 Email:
Beth Friend, East Bay Township
Phone: 231-947-8719 Email:

Jim Lamond, Chairman of Holiday Woodlands Preserve
Phone: 231-421-1588

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.”

Holiday Woods_Project Sheet_2019

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

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.

SAVE THE DATE! National Trails Day is Saturday, June 1st!

2019-05-09 17_50_12-Window.jpg

The Holiday Woodlands Preserve is proud to be a host site for the 2019 National Trails Day!  Mark your calendar! American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® unites thousands of hikers across the nation by connecting more people to trails and public lands.

Join us!  Volunteers will be on site to greet you and head on out for a guided trail hike 9am – 12pm.

Meanwhile, you may notice colored flagging temporarily marking new or existing trails & foot paths.  Not to worry—these aren’t marking trees for removal, just showing work in progress.  A big thanks to Dan Zemper who has been diligently working on these trails!

In Response to the “200 Acre Park” Ticker Article

Following Wednesday’s Ticker article, we felt we should reach out to you, our loyal supporters, and explain the piece a bit (if you missed it and want to learn more about the current discussion to create a 200 Acre Park in East Bay Township, you can read about it here).

I think we’d sum up the current situation as “cautiously optimistic.”  After all, what is better than preserving 80 acres?  Preserving 200!  We hope that the revised plan can happen, but there are a lot of unknowns that have to be worked through in the coming months.  First, East Bay Township needs to confirm that they are interested in pursuing the project.  Second, all the parties have to come together with a common vision.  We are eager to hear that the principles of stewardship we hold for the land can be largely honored going forward.  Lastly, (and most importantly) this all depends on a successful grant application to the state.  This last part is tricky; it might not be until 2021 until we find out whether the state will grant the funds.

In addition to being cautiously optimistic, I think we are also a little proud today. All of us should be! If Holiday Woodlands Preserve had not been saved, we’d be talking about a 200-acre housing development.  Many thanks to all of you for your vision for Traverse City, your generosity, and your support of the project.

Again, although we are cautiously optimistic, we can not know what the future holds, so we will continue on the path we are on.  We have a monthly mortgage to pay and other maintenance expenses, so we we won’t take our foot off the gas when it comes to fund raising.  If the merged project doesn’t come to pass, we know there is considerable support for finishing what we started.

We will keep you informed as the situation evolves.  Thank you for your continued interest and support.


The HWP Board