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Protect Sugarwood Forest

It's official! Thanks to the generous support of our friends and neighbors, we are now able to preserve one of the last remaining old-growth forests in Southwest Michigan! 

Over the past several months, nearly 100 individuals and organizations came together to successfully raise the funds necessary for Chikaming Open Lands to forever protect this 40-acre tract of forest on Elm Valley Road adjacent to Warren Woods State Park. We are now moving forward with the acquisition, which will be completed in January. 

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.

Thank you to all who helped ensure this important woodland is preserved for future generations.