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Conservancy adds 49 acres along Galien River

Posted on November 16, 2018

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SAWYER — Chikaming Open Lands has acquired a new nature preserve in Chikaming Township and named it for its late executive director, COL reported.

The 49-acre property includes open fields, high-quality woodlands and frontage on the Galien River. It will be dedicated in memory of Chris Thompson, who died in 2016. The property is along Warren Woods Road between Warren Woods State Park and Chikaming Township Park and Preserve. 

The Chris Thompson Memorial Preserve will be open to the public for outdoor recreation.

COL reported that more than 125 individuals and organizations participated in a campaign to raise $226,000 to complete the purchase of the property and protect the open space into perpetuity. The deal was wrapped up Oct. 30.

COL’s plans include developing a system of hiking trails, improving public access and restoring the open fields to native prairie. The organization will explore the possibility of offering access to the Galien River.

“Chris’s vision was to connect the people of our community to the land, by providing the kinds of outdoor experiences that are proven to make people healthier and happier,” Executive Director Ryan Postema said. “Our goal for this new preserve is to create a welcoming space for local residents and visitors alike to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.”

Chikaming Open Lands is a land conservancy dedicated to preserving the open spaces and natural rural character of southern Berrien County. It has secured more than 1,800 acres of open space since its founding in 1999.