Community Forest Purchase Moves Steadily Forward
By March 31, the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve successfully raised the funds for the purchase of 695 acres of forest in northern Marquette County. Through donations, grants, and foundation support, the group had raised $1,096,397 dollars, which is enough to move forward with the sellers of the property.
“We are amazed at the amount of support from local, statewide, and national sources that came in to help our community create this important natural asset,” says Emily Whittaker, Special Projects Manager for YDWP. “The amount raised represents 99.7% of our original goal and we now have enough to purchase the property, so the landowners and YDWP are moving forward.It’s not too late to be part of the effort to establish the Yellow Dog River Community Forest. Supporters can continue to support the project past the deadline and funds will go toward the long term care and monitoring of the property.
The project will now move into its final stages, which includes title work, grant documentation, and legal transactions. Closing and transfer of the property will occur sometime mid to late summer 2016. YDWP would then legally own the Yellow Dog River Community Forest.
“We’re very excited about the Public Participation Process that will follow the actual purchase of the property,” says Jerry Maynard, member of the Fred Waara Trout Unlimited group in Marquette. Trout Unlimited pledged $10,000 toward the campaign and is having their 29th Annual Banquet on April 23 at 6pm in NMU’s University Center. “Once YDWP owns the property, the Community Forest Committee, of which I am a member, will hold 2-3 public meetings for the purpose of gathering as much community input as possible in creating a Community Forest Plan.” Dates for the Public Participation Process meetings will be announced this summer. The public will be asked to provide their thoughts on what specific goals they think the Committee should set and how those goals would be reached.
A community event celebrating the purchase and establishment of the Yellow Dog River Community Forest will occur sometime in September, when all of the real estate transactions are finalized and the planning process begins. “We will certainly want to invite the community to celebrate such a substantial victory. It’s not every day that we can say a beautiful U.P. river will be protected and open to the public forever,” says Kathy Wright, teacher at Powell Township School and member of the Community Forest Committee.
For more information on the project, visit our Community Forest webpage.