Remember Mort Neff? For 20 some odd years Mort came into our homes on Michigan Outdoors via that big box (that was never going to catch on) and encouraged us to get out and enjoy nature. He lived to see the development of the Little Traverse Conservancy, but Neff would undoubtedly have been thrilled to see how this passionate organization has grown since his passing in 1990.
The 270 Little Traverse Conservancy nature preserves provide a chance to get away from the hum of city life. Hiking trails through the preserves lure those hoping to keep fit. You can drop a line and reel in the big one, or splash in the clear waters of lakes and streams within many of the properties. There are currently 92 miles of trails among 72 nature preserves spread out across the Conservancy’s service area. Community field trips are offered around the seasons at no charge. And free programs are open to children (nearly 5,000 attend each year) giving them the opportunity to learn first hand about ecology.
The Little Traverse Conservancy receives no government funding an yet, there is no charge to guests to use most any of the trails or programs. What a gift to those who choose to explore! Much of the land has been donated to the Conservancy or privately owned land has been permanently protected through a legal agreement known as a conservation easement. Mort’s own son, Jay, along with his wife Shawn, currently live on a property that was protected with a conservation easement.
How do you find all those great places in the Petoskey Area and surrounding counties? A free app is offered – LTC Explorer – to help visitors find the myriad of preserves that are available – many of them year ’round. The app also shows other regional trails including the North Country Trail and the trails managed by the Top of Michigan Trails Council. No admission fee, no lines to stand in. A simple way to spend a day or two alone or with family – get back to nature at the Little Traverse Nature Conservancy Preserves.
For more information regarding the conservancies, visit www.landtrust.org or call 231.347.0991. Looking for lodging for your trip? Go to www.PetoskeyArea.com.