Inspiring exploration, appreciation, and conservation of our natural world.

Stewarding Our Natural Resources

Everyone who lives in or visits northwest-lower Michigan knows we are surrounded with an abundance of natural beauty. At the Grand Traverse Conservation District, we believe all people should have the opportunity to access and explore the rivers, lakes and forests that make our region so unique. As you engage the diverse beauty of our region we hope you will come to care for and ultimately steward these complex and ever-changing landscapes.

To this end, Grand Traverse Conservation District models sustainable land management practices as we care for and provide public access to over 3,000 acres of the region’s most treasured natural landscapes, along the Boardman River and throughout Grand Traverse County.

We provide these functions in three ways:

Boardman River – For over 20 years, we have been restoring, monitoring and providing for safe, sustainable access to the Boardman River, one the outstanding natural features of Northwest-lower Michigan.  With its “Blue Ribbon” designation, crystal clear cold waters, large amount of public land, well maintained recreation trails and access points, it is no surprise that more than a million people recreate within its watershed each year—contributing $10,000 per mile to the local economy!  The careful and consistent stewardship efforts of the Grand Traverse Conservation District have ensured that despite its million plus users, the river continues to be acknowledged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources as a high-quality Natural River.

Farmlands – The Grand Traverse Conservation District works hand in hand with over 100 local farmers to conserve our natural resources while providing for healthy, safe, high quality agricultural products. Our two full-time technicians work with local farmers on two, voluntary certification programs administered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development: the Michigan Agriculture Environment Assurance Program (MAEAP) and, the Michigan Safe Food Assessment Program.

Native Habitats – The regional invasive species network (ISN), operates within the Grand Traverse Conservation District and is critical to keeping our region beautiful and bountiful.  Invasive species are acknowledged to be the second largest threat to global biodiversity, second only to habitat fragmentation (David Wilcove, Princeton University).