About Chikaming Open Lands
Chikaming Open Lands 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.
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 850 supporting members 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.
A board of directors and staff members oversee the day-to-day operation of the organization.