Land Conservancy of West Michigan preserves 43 acres of unique back dune habitat in Muskegon County

Land Conservancy of West Michigan announced it has finalized its purchase of 43 acres of forested backdune habitat adjacent to Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve.

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — The Land Conservancy of West Michigan completed its purchase of 43 acres of forested back dune habitat adjacent to Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve in Muskegon County’s White River Township.

It was a parcel of land the L.C.W.M. has kept an eye on for years.

“For many many years and so we’re pleased to be able to make the purchase of the land,” said Kim Karn, executive director of the Land Conservancy of West Michigan.  

The 43 acre Huston-Rausch-Paprocki Reserve is open for gentle recreation and nature education. Under the Land Conservancy’s ownership, the natural landscape will be managed to uphold its ecological integrity.

According to Karn the L.C.W.M. will occasionally offer guided hikes on the property. Unlike the Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve to the north it will not have a developed trail system for hiking. 

The project was made possible by donors who raised $200,000 to fund the land trust’s purchase and management of the formerly private property. 

Together the Huston-Rausch-Paprocki Reserve and Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve protect 74 acres of Lake Michigan shoreline habitat. The two L.C.W.M. properties connect with Muskegon County’s Meinert Park creating what Karn calls a 255 acre corridor of habitat.

“Piecing together these large parcels of land has been part of our strategy to preserve Lake Michigan shoreline,” Karn said. “The addition of this beautiful forest to Flower Creek Dunes has protected an indispensable natural connection that will support the plants, birds, insects and wildlife that depend on lakeshore habitat. We could not have done it without the generous support of a community who cares deeply about protecting West Michigan’s special natural areas.”

The forest was previously owned by Douglas Paprocki, who purchased the land with his late wife Gretchen in 1994. The couple cherished the landscape’s rugged character and worked with the Land Conservancy then to protect the private property with a conservation easement. Paprocki’s sale of the property to the Land Conservancy is a final gesture to ensure the landscape continues to enjoy the best care and management.

“Doug and Gretchen Paprocki have been diligent stewards of this landscape for over two decades. We are grateful for the opportunity to carry their incredible legacy forward,” Karn said. “It’s a hidden gem on the shoreline, it’s beautiful and it’s really an escape from everything that’s going on right now.”

More information about Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve and the Huston-Rausch-Paprocki Reserve can be found online.

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