Those of us in Southeast Michigan are astonishingly fortunate to have the Waterloo Recreation Area (WRA) open to the public to walk, run, hunt, fish, ride horseback and just plain enjoy. Over 20,000 acres open to us all, right here near home.
We’ve also learned that there’s a risk to taking our good fortune for granted. The Recreation Area with its globally rare fen habitats, wetlands to filter the waters that flow into our major rivers (Huron and Grand) and wildlife to observe and hunt, is so special because such a large proportion of this land is protected. In fact, the Waterloo Recreation Area has more endangered species than any other state park or recreation area in Michigan.
But it is not all protected. Much of the land in and around Waterloo remains undeveloped, and stewarded by private landowners. These individuals have done much to help maintain the character of this remarkable place. But, as their lives change, so, too, may their ability to carry on this work. Because we know how special this place is, and how fortunate we are to have it, we have an obligation to help these landowners continue their legacy, either through conservation easements, or by helping them to add their land to the Waterloo holdings.
Legacy Land Conservancy has established a dedicated Waterloo Fund to protect additional lands in Waterloo. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources & Environment has been awarded a Natural Resources Trust Fund grant for Waterloo land acquisitions, but MDNR does not always have the operational dollars required for transaction costs. Legacy’s Waterloo Fund provides vital implementation money for the necessary appraisals. This partnership has resulted in around 350 additional acres of publicly accessible lands in the WRA in the past few years.
Please think about the ways the Recreation Area is important to you and to your quality of life. Maybe you run; ride your bike or horse; walk; hunt for game; pick mushrooms or berries; or just drive through and enjoy the scenery — no matter what your passion is, this area matters to you.
Please contribute to Legacy’s Waterloo Fund. Every contribution is spent only in the Waterloo area to help secure additional land to be protected. We are counting on your help to make sure Legacy has adequate funds to continue protecting land, air and water in Waterloo.