Leelanau Conservancy Receives “Community Award” for Work at DeYoung Natural Area
The Grand Traverse Heritage Center presented the Leelanau Conservancy with its coveted “Community Award” on September 17 for permanently protecting the agricultural landscape and historic structures at the DeYoung Natural Area on Cedar Lake. The 145-acre farmstead is just minutes from Traverse City, with frontage on both sides of Cherry Bend Road. It is seen by many as the gateway to Leelanau’s agricultural landscape. The TART trail runs through the natural area; hiking trails and a fishing pier here have become popular destinations for locals and visitors alike.
An ongoing partnership with Eastern Michigan University has also led to the preservation and distribution of historic artifacts found in the DeYoung home and other structures on the property. Treasures such as children’s toys and household items from the early 1900s will soon be on display at the Grand Traverse Lighthouse and have been added to the collections of the Leelanau Historical Museum, Traverse City Historical Society, and Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear. Last spring graduate students from EMU’s Historic Preservation program documented the treasures, built new windows for the pump house and made recommendations for restoration once funding can be secured.
“It feels good to be recognized for the work we have done to merge land protection with historic preservation,” says Jenee Rowe, Stewardship Director for the Leelanau Conservancy, who accepted the award along with Executive Director Brian Price. “In my mind, both the buildings at DeYoung and the landscape there really capture the spirit of Leelanau County’s early days.” To learn more about the Heritage Center’s other awardees in Leelanau County and beyond, visit www.gtheritagecenter.org.