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Protect Sugarwood Forest

Join us to preserve one of the last remaining old-growth forests in Southwest Michigan

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Chikaming Open Lands (COL) is seeking to acquire a 40-acre tract of forest on Elm Valley Road adjacent to Warren Woods State Park. Upon acquiring the property, COL will designate it as a nature preserve, permanently protecting this extremely desirable woodland in its natural state. Some of the features that make this property special include:

  • A high-quality, mature beech-maple forest; in fact, one of the last remaining old-growth forests in Southwest Michigan.
  • Its location next to Warren Woods State Park, which will provide an open space corridor along with nearby protected properties like Chikaming Township Park & Preserve, and COL's Chris Thompson Memorial Preserve, Merritt Family Preserve, and Younger Family Preserve. These corridors, particularly ones like this that run adjacent to a river system, provide critical habitat for native plants and animals, promoting biodiversity and a healthy, balanced ecosystem.
  • The opportunity to open the property to the public, building a trail system through the preserve and providing a new place where members of our community can enjoy the beauty of this rare virgin forest. There is also potential to connect the trail to the existing system in the State Park. 

Most important, this acquisition allows COL to create an accessible, welcoming place where everyone in our community--residents and visitors alike--can enjoy the restorative benefits of nature. And as many of us have discovered over the last few months, that is a commodity that is in high demand, now more than ever.

How you can help:

In the interest of seeing the property preserved, the current landowner has offered to sell the property to COL for $240,000, a significant reduction from its market value. To aid in our fundraising effort, we have been awarded a $80,000 challenge grant from The Carls Foundation.

Now, we are seeking donations to fulfill the requirements of the grant, which means we must raise $160,000 to complete the purchase, and protect this open space in perpetuity. Please consider partnering with us on this important project. Together, we can protect a rare old-growth woodland, ensuring it remains natural and undeveloped forever.

To date, we've raised nearly $85,000 of our $160,000 match requirement. Donate today to get us over the finish line, and ensure this important woodland is preserved for future generations. 

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