Offield Family Viewlands Working Forest Reserve
Frequently Asked Questions
Like all of Little Traverse Conservancy’s trails, these will be multi-use and open for running, biking, snowshoeing, skiing, walking dogs on leash, etc.
The golf course and associated businesses had already been closed before the Conservancy became involved. The Little Traverse Conservancy purchased this property from a private land investor who had purchased the land from the owner of the Little Traverse Bay Golf Club earlier this year. The Conservancy did not shut down the golf course, and in keeping with our mission we chose to not operate the course through a lease agreement either.
The Conservancy staff, board of trustees, and donors recognized the very unique and special features of this land that make it a true gem to protect for everyone’s benefit. We decided to purchase this property to protect the public’s access to the views and to make them accessible to even more people. We recognized the incredible opportunity for nature recreation and enjoyment of extraordinary views. And this project allows us to restore fragmented habitats and broaden ecosystem protection for the benefit of human health and all living things.
We have decided not to make any immediate decisions. We are in discussion with various parties who may have interest in using the restaurant and concession stand structures. If no opportunities emerge, we may remove those buildings. The existing pole barns will be utilized by the Conservancy to hold tools and equipment needed to manage this property and the 215 other properties it owns. Staff will continue to work with committee members and trustees to develop the best management plan for this land and structures over the next year. In the meantime, the public is asked to please stay away from the buildings.
We established the working forest category in 2015 to distinguish lands that are more actively managed through forestry or other habitat manipulations from lands where we generally let nature take its course, our nature preserves. The Offield Family Viewlands will fall under our working forest reserve category, but that doesn’t mean you will see logging trucks out there, although someday that may be a management tool. You will more likely see us actively restoring some of the lands by planting trees and native grasses.
We are currently evaluating different plans for reconnecting the natural communities best suited for this land. We plan to balance our reforesting goals with maintaining the views. Therefore, we will likely be establishing meadows of native grasses in some of the former fairways and will be carefully selecting where certain tree species should be planted. Look for opportunities to help us plant trees in the coming years.