The Brooks Family’s Legacy

Brooks property

By Susan LaCroix, Land Protection Lead

Leaving a legacy can mean something very different to each person. To the Brooks family, it means conserving their family property with a conservation easement.  Legacy Land Conservancy is honored to help them do just that.  Dorothy Brooks and her late husband Kenny bought a portion of the property together in 1949 where they built their family home with their own hands. They raised a family, purchased additional land next door, and kept animals on the property. They also enjoyed taking beautiful walks, along the adjacent Huron River and tributary. A couple years ago, Dorothy and her adult children contacted Legacy Land Conservancy to protect the property their family has loved, and its valuable resources, for the greater good.

L-R Susan LaCroix, Diana Kern, Dorothy Brooks, Susan Lackey, Jean Cares

Dorothy Brooks signed a conservation easement, a type of agreement, on the 20-acre property on September 26th, 2019. The Brooks’ legacy benefits all of us by conserving 2,900 feet along both sides of a tributary of the Huron River, and 265 feet along the Huron River itself. The agreement requires buffers around the creek and river that will protect the waterways even if someone farms the property in the future. The easement also protects critical floodplain, wildlife habitat, water quality, important farmland soils, open space, and scenic views from the Huron River, Huron River Drive, and the adjacent publicly owned property.  The Brooks easement abuts over 34,000 acres of already conserved land along the Huron River, contributing to the connectivity and resiliency of the landscape.

Dorothy Brooks sold the value of the conservation easement to Legacy at a discount, also known as a “bargain sale”. The funds used to purchase a portion of the conservation easement value were raised as part of our Carls Foundation match. Dorothy donated the remaining value. The Carls Foundation match is working to protect five different properties, including the Brooks easement which is the second of the five properties to close. Every dollar we raise for these projects from our supporters is matched 1:1 by the Carls Foundation. A sincere thank you to those who have contributed to the effort. As you can see from this recent closing, your contributions are critical to our work at Legacy. We are still $337,000 from our goal. Every gift gets us one step closer to that goal and closing the remaining three conservation easements.

The Brooks conservation easement is another example of how Legacy Land Conservancy works with private landowners to make a lasting positive environmental impact in Washtenaw and Jackson Counties. The landowners we work with have a strong connection with the land they protect, and their commitment to the places they love provides public benefits we can all be grateful for. If this is something you and your family are interested in beginning a conversation about, please contact Susan LaCroix at or (734)780-6293.

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