June Operations Update
Posted on June 16, 2020
June 16, 2020: An Update on Operations
Dear members and friends,
As Michigan enters Phase 4 of the Governor's re-opening plan and restrictions begin to loosen, I wanted to provide an update on our operations here at Chikaming Open Lands (COL). Our office is now being staffed on a limited basis, and we are open to the public by appointment only.
Our nature preserves remain open and available for all to enjoy. We are very pleased to report that though we have seen increased traffic in our preserves over the last few months, we have not had any issues with over-use or vandalism, and users are being smart, safe and respectful during their visits. As always, we encourage you to contact us to report any issues you may encounter while out in one of our preserves.
While we are not currently holding volunteer stewardship days, in recent weeks our staff members have constructed new hiking trail networks in the Chris Thompson Memorial Preserve on Warren Woods Road and in the newly expanded Burns Prairie Preserve on Mt. Zion Road in Galien Township. Limited off-road parking is available at both preserves and trail markers and signage will be going in at both locations within the next few weeks. Work has also resumed on construction of improvements at Flynn Woods Preserve, across East Road from Robinson Woods. A new parking area, a picnic shelter, and other amenities are expected to be completed this summer.
Though many of our summer events and programs are cancelled for the time being, we are excited to announce that the #10Trail Challenge, the popular hiking challenge we’ve hosted in partnership with Rotary for the past two years, will go on as scheduled this July. Visit our website or follow us on social media for more details about this fun way to discover all the wonderful hiking trails our area has to offer.
Unfortunately, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the annual Barn Benefit this year. While the Benefit raises a significant amount of income each year which allows us to carry out our conservation mission, the health and safety of our staff, our supporters, and our community are our highest priority. As such, we do not believe it will be feasible or prudent to gather in person this September given the likelihood that COVID-19 will persist at some level into the fall.
The disruptions caused by the pandemic present challenges for us all. But we will continue our work to protect the natural open spaces that make our region such a desirable place to live, work, and visit. I hope you will consider partnering with us in that endeavor by making a donation to COL today.
During this fraught time, getting outdoors has been an essential way for many of us to achieve some balance and maintain our peace of mind. COL remains committed to providing opportunities for everyone to connect with nature. Now more than ever, your support is critical to sustaining that work. Thank you.
Stay safe and be well.
Ryan J. Postema