Mike LeValley, Executive Director of the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy (CWC) announced that the organization has acquired its twenty-sixth nature preserve. This 80-acre property is located on W. Monroe Road, in Freeman Township, Clare County. This is the CWC’s first nature preserve in Clare County.
On August 15, 2023, John Weting of Mount Hood Parkdale, Oregon signed a deed transferring the property from Weting Land and Building, LLC to the CWC. During a June 2023 visit to the property, John Weting commented “The entire family lives on the West Coast now. If we still lived in Marquette and could still easily visit several times a year, it might be a different story but I think we’re making the right decision in donating the land.”
Originally purchased by John’s grandparents Howard and Hazel Weting in 1929, the property remained in the family for the ensuing 94 years. During that time, the Weting family always managed the as habitat for wildlife and native plants. Their efforts included planting thousands of red pine seedlings from the 1930s through the 1970s and developing a Forest Management Plan for the property in the 2000s. In 2022, the family signed a conservation easement with the CWC to protect the land in perpetuity before eventually making the decision to donate the property. John Weting reminisced, “I’m pretty sure this is what my grandparents would have wanted, to see it protected this way. I talked to my aunt about donating the property and she said she thought this would make them happy.”
Today the property consists of mixed age stands of pines and hardwoods including oaks, maples, and aspen. Common wildlife found on the preserve include White-tailed Deer, Wild Turkey, Ruffed Grouse, Porcupine, Raccoon, and numerous species of resident and migratory birds. The property also provides suitable habitat for endangered and threatened species such as Northern Goshawk, Rust-patched Bumblebee, and Little Brown Bat.
LeValley stated, “It’s always encouraging to see a conservation vision applied across generations as it has been here. The CWC is honored to receive the gift of this property and to continue the
conservation legacy of the Weting Family.”
The new preserve will be known as the Howard and Hazel Weting Preserve. The first public tour of the preserve will be held on Sunday, October 1st at 1:00PM.
More information including photos of the preserve can be found at https://cwc-mi.org/weting-preserve/
The Chippewa Watershed Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation group based in Mt. Pleasant, has been preserving open space and wildlife habitat in mid-Michigan since 1994 through conservation easements, land acquisition and education. The organization currently holds 36 conservation easements and owns 26 preserves protecting more than 5,400 acres of land in Isabella, Clare, Gratiot, Mecosta and Montcalm counties.
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