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      Community support helps preserve land for recreational use

      For the last two years, the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy has been working hard to raise money that would help preserve hundreds of acres of land in Long Lake Township that was previously a part of the former Timbers Girl Scout Camp. At the end of June, they succeeded.

      On Thursday they celebrated the accomplishment with a gathering on the property. They invited community members, including those who helped support the preservation.

      â??We are celebrating success, we are celebrating how this community really rallied and came together,â?? said Glen Chown, Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy.

      The property consists of more than 250 acres of land, and sits just ten minutes from Downtown Traverse City off of Long Lake Road. It includes frontage on Long Lake, Page Lake, and all of Fern Lake and can be used for swimming, canoeing and fishing. There are also miles of trails for hiking and country skiing, along with many different wildlife habitats.

      â??Itâ??s a fabulous resource for the Traverse City area and itâ??s about our quality of life,â?? said Chown. â??These are the kinds of things that have made our region famous. Itâ??s our protection, itâ??s our public areas, itâ??s our recreational opportunities.â??

      The Land Conservancy purchased the property for $2.7 million with the help of an interest free loan from the Oleson family. Something Don Oleson says was close to his heart, since his father owned the property in the 1940â??s.

      â??We saw an opportunity to preserve the whole thing, so thatâ??s what we did,â?? said Don Oleson.

      The Land Conservancy had until June 30 to match nearly $900 thousand that wasnâ??t covered by a $2.1 million Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

      With the help of the community support, they succeeded. At the end of August it will officialy be owned by Long Lake Township and available for everyone to enjoy.

      â??Very excited,â?? said Township Supervisor, Karen Rosa. â??This is really a dream come true to be able to preserve this many acres for the community.â??