The Leelanau Conservancy recently completed a purchase that will expand the protected areas along Victoria Creek (Cedar River) to a total of 300 acres with over two miles of Lake Leelanau shoreline and connecting channels along the waterways within the Solon Swamp wetland complex (scroll down and click the small map to view the protected areas).
“Purchasing the property was like putting in a key piece of a puzzle,” adds Price. “Now, both banks of the Cedar River from the village of Cedar all the way down to Lake Leelanau are owned by either the State or the Conservancy and open to the public to explore and enjoy.” The new acquisition is strategic for another reason: the property includes about eight acres of dry upland along Co. Rd. 645, just east of the Village of Cedar, which will be the first access point along a public road north of the Cedar River and only the third road-access point into about 1,500 acres of Pere Marquette State Forest. Conservancy ownership of the 100 acres will allow the public to directly access 275 adjacent acres of State Forest which were previously inaccessible on foot because of the river.
The forested wetlands on the property are thick with northern white cedar, hemlock and spruce and with a large pocket of mature tamaracks in the 24 acres south of the river. This land has tremendous ecological value,” says Matt Heiman, a Conservancy land protection specialist who worked on the project. While a complete inventory of plant and animal species on the property will have to wait for the winter to unlock its grip, nearby land within the Cedar River Natural Area contains over 100 species of plants, including such gems as the carnivorous yellow pitcher plant, along with other species that grow in the most extensive and least-disturbed wetlands. Heiman adds that the land is part of a very large and diverse complex of forested swamp, cattail marsh, and freshwater fens, all connected by stream corridors.