In the last one hundred years, the landscape of this country has been changing faster than it’s being protected. Alarmed at the disappearance of mature forests, scenic prairies, essential biodiversity and “breathing room,” land conservation groups have worked to protect an estimated 40 million acres that are now set aside as wildlife and plant habitat, act as buffers of our Great Lakes water resources and provide public access to nature. Thanks to efforts by Little Traverse Conservancy, a generous chunk of that protected land is located in Northern Michigan.
Members of the Conservation Resource Alliance know how to apply good science to restore water quality in rivers and stabilize stream banks. They know what it takes to remove old dams and culverts and improve habitat for fish. A key to their success is they know how to foster collaborative land-use solutions that bring together private landowners, government agencies, non-profits, volunteers, funders and businesses with shared goals and a long view.
You can’t go far in Michigan without crossing a stream, following a river or spotting the sparkle of an inland lake. In a region that contains more than 20% of the world’s fresh surface water, it’s easy to take for granted all that glorious water. Yet, because of human intervention, the quality of Michigan’s waters has diminished considerably in the past 200 years, and everything from tourism and the fishing industry to property values and our health is feeling the impact.
Michigan has the largest network of rail trails in the country. Top of Michigan Trails Council helps that effort by empowering and supporting the efforts of local trail groups and providing guidance to trail communities throughout the state on how to market themselves as trail-friendly destinations for tourists.