Partnerships Conserve Salem Township Natural Area

ANN ARBOR, MI—Legacy Land Conservancy announces the creation of the Anthony & Rose Shatter Family Nature Preserve in Salem Township. The 25-acre property lies in the southwest corner of Brookville and Curtis Roads, just a quarter of a mile from Legacy’s Creekshead Nature Preserve.

Legacy’s seventh nature preserve was made possible through the joint efforts of the Salem Township Board of Trustees—via the township’a Land Preservation and Conservation Board—along with Washtenaw County’s Natural Areas Preservation Program (NAPP), and the Ann Arbor Greenbelt.

The Salem Township Land Preservation and Conservation Board approached Legacy in spring 2017 after learning that the Shatter Family had put up the undeveloped land for sale. With its high-quality beech-maple and oak-hickory woodlands, and buttonbush swamp, the property was identified as a priority area for future public access by the township’s Board.

“We had been working with Legacy Land Conservancy to look at new ways of protecting property in Salem Township,” says Susan Bejin, Chair of the township’s Land Preservation and Conservation Board.  “This property showcases beautiful wetlands, abundant wildflowers, and a wide variety of trees. It’s in near-pristine condition.” 

The preserve is Legacy’s first created in response to a community request. Legacy’s other six preserves were initiated and donated by the landowners.

“The relative speed with which a complex acquisition like this was accomplished is a testament to the strength of the partnerships involved,” asserts Legacy’s Conservation Planner, Robin Burke. “When all the pieces came together, it was a great example of mission alignment and organizational cooperation.”

Inspired by Salem Township’s enthusiasm for the property, the Ann Arbor Greenbelt and Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission pooled their resources so the land could be purchased and transferred to Legacy’s care.

“This is the tenth publicly accessible preserve that the Greenbelt contributed to,” notes Ruth Thornton, Greenbelt Program Manager.

Salem Township paid the administrative fees for the sale and is working with Legacy on parking solutions for public accessibility. Legacy covered closing costs, and will shoulder the responsibility of maintaining the preserve in perpetuity.

As part of the purchase agreement, Legacy will create the “Tony & Rosie Trail” to honor the property’s former owners, the late Anthony and Rose Shatter. The Shatters purchased the property in the early 1980s and left it to their four daughters.

“Our parents wanted the land to be their legacy; it is our great honor to have the nature preserve named after them,” says Patricia Akmon, the eldest Shatter daughter. “Our parents were always open and welcoming, so having the trailhead that welcomes people to the preserve named in their honor is fitting.”

Legacy is developing management plans for the preserve that will include the envisioned parking access and trail development. “We anticipate being able to introduce the preserve to the public in 2019,” says Burke.

Bejin notes that because it’s located on one of Salem Township’s busier roads, “the new preserve will be a nice spot for people to stop and enjoy what Michigan was like before being developed.”

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About Legacy Land Conservancy:  Founded in 1971 as Michigan’s first local land trust, Legacy is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects land in southern Michigan. Legacy’s mission is to secure for current and future generations a land base for nature, agriculture, fresh water, and recreation in Jackson and Washtenaw counties and beyond. Legacy has helped to protect over 9,000 acres of land (including seven nature preserves open for all to enjoy) that enhance our community’s quality of place by safeguarding water quality, conserving working farms, and protecting places to play. In a testament to 47 years of successful voluntary conservation, Legacy is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission for adhering to a set of standards designed to ensure the organization’s work will endure forever. Legacy is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For more information, visit www.legacylandconservancy.org.

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About Washtenaw County’s Natural Areas Preservation Program: Washtenaw County’s Natural Areas Preservation Program (NAPP) purchases unique natural areas to ensure their preservation for the benefit of all County residents, plants, animals and people.  The Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission manages the program, identifying and caring for lands with special ecological, recreational, and educational benefits.  NAPP was established in August 2000 with the passage of Ordinance No. 128, and subsequently funded through a 0.25 dedicated millage approved by Washtenaw County voters in November 2000.  The millage was renewed in the November 2010 for an additional ten years. 

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About Salem Township Land Preservation and Conservation Board: Appointed by the Salem Township Board of Trustees, the Salem Township Land Preservation and Conservation Board is comprised of five township residents who meet monthly over the course of their two-year terms.  They are authorized to advise and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees on land matters and enhancing public awareness, commitment and active participation in the stewardship of agricultural lands and open space, and land rights acquisition, management, and disposition.

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