Our mission: Conserving the land, water and scenic character of Leelanau County.
Twenty five years ago the Leelanau Conservancy opened its doors with a big dream and a small group of individuals dedicated to the idea that the Leelanau Peninsula is a place that deserved our best efforts to protect its unique landscapes. We believed that with commitment and hard work, we could be successful in harnessing the love that people have for Leelanau into finding ways to protect land forever. Thus the Leelanau Conservancy was born.
Since 1988, the Leelanau Conservancy has been devoted to protecting the land and water that make the Leelanau Peninsula one of the most unique and beautiful areas in the U.S.
Spectacular sand dunes rising from Lake Michigan, pristine inland lakes, towering hardwood forests and landscapes shaped by glaciers all contribute to its unique beauty. Productive farmland, uniquely suited to growing cherries and other fruit, add to the features that make the Leelanau Peninsula a treasured place.
Leelanau’s assets provide many benefits to its people and wildlife. Our wetlands and forests are a haven for eagles and otters, deer and bear, showy lady slipper and the endangered Michigan Monkey Flower. All manner of birds gather at the tip of the peninsula to feed and rest before making their way across Lake Michigan during their bi-annual migrations.
Leelanau’s farms provide both an abundance of fresh and nutritious local foods, as well as commercial crops of cherries, wine grapes, apples and other fruit. CSA’s thrive here and small-scale, value-added agriculture fuels our local economy.
Residents and visitors alike find Leelanau a place to call home, taking pride in our charming small towns and tight-knit communities. Each person cherishes this area in their own personal way. But the common feature is the land and water, which gives us beauty, serenity, inspiration, recreation, employment and a sense of community. The Leelanau Conservancy’s mission is to understand those landscapes that are essential to the uniqueness and way of life of the Leelanau Peninsula, and to permanently protect them.
- Since our formation in 1988, we have permanently preserved nearly 11,000 acres and over 35 miles of streams, rivers and shoreline, established 23 natural areas and preserves with almost 15 miles of trails, and worked with 149 landowners to protect their private property.
- We are among the first group of land trusts in the country to become accredited through the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.
- In 2009, our first-of-its kind FarmAbility program received national attention for its innovative approach to farmland protection.
- For every $1 of private donations we receive, we protect $4 worth of land.
- We are supported by over 3,500 donors and 250 volunteers annually.
- Of our annual expenses, 91% supports programs, 6.5% covers administration costs and 2.5% aids fundraising.
- In 2012 the Leelanau Conservancy and the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy were selected by the Land Trust Alliance out of more than 1,700 land trusts across the nation to receive its National Land Trust Excellence Award.