Pick up a paddle to explore the Little Traverse Conservancy’s newest preserve, between the Crooked River and the Alanson Locks.

Imagine you are on a boat in Emmet County’s Crooked Lake, moving north along the Inland Waterway. You are heading toward the Crooked River and ahead of you are the Alanson locks which will transport you safely to the Crooked River. To your left, just before the locks, are beautiful, undeveloped wetlands. It is a place where the call of kingfishers is common, as is the water trail of a muskrat or otter that just passed through.

This spring, Little Traverse Conservancy purchased 2,000 feet of this frontage along with 23 acres of marsh and forested wetlands to create the Inland Waterway Preserve. According to wildlife ecologist Burt Ebbers, “I cannot think of any other waterfront parcel in the upper Crooked River watershed more deserving of preservation than this property, both in terms of helping maintain water quality and providing quality habitat for native plants and animals.” Ebbers noted that the new preserve includes a well-defined Northern Fen community, a rarity in this region.        

“Protecting this much shoreline near the top of the waterway was a high priority for the Conservancy,” said Tom Bailey, executive director for the Conservancy.     

Funding for the purchase came primarily from the Taylor Foundation, and was greatly enhanced with a $15,000 contribution from the Pickerel-Crooked Lake Association (PCLA), a dynamic group that has worked in partnership with the Conservancy throughout the years. Most notably, this group served a significant role in protecting the Oden Island Nature Preserve and the Black Hole Nature Preserve.

For more information: 231-347-0991;