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About Chikaming Open Lands

Chikaming Open Lands (COL) is a non-profit conservation organization working with landowners in the Galien River watershed and southwest Berrien County to preserve open space and the diverse, natural character of the area. The Galien watershed is nestled in the southwest corner of Michigan, home to lakes, dunes, white sandy beaches, quiet woodlands and farms. Today, COL holds 29 conservation easements and owns ten nature preserves totaling 1,635 acres.

COL was founded in 1999 when several concerned community members saw how drastically the area was changing, from natural and rural to more and more housing developments. They decided to take a stand and become more involved in community planning efforts by forming a land trust.

For the first six years COL was an all-volunteer organization governed by a Board of Directors. Today, COL has more than 500 supporting member households, whose contributions cover the majority of our operating expenses as well as a professional staff that oversees the day-to-day operations.

Chikaming Open Lands is incorporated as a non-profit organization in the State of Michigan, and has been granted tax-exempt, 501(c)(3), status by the Internal Revenue Service. As a sponsoring member of the Land Trust Alliance in Washington, DC, our organization meets or exceeds the standards and practices established for land trusts across the country.

Below is a map showing the properties Chikaming Open Lands protects. You can see a larger version of the map here.