Northern Michigan in Focus: Cheboygan Boardwalk

Right around three years ago, the city of Cheboygan had a unique problem to deal with.

Their answer? The Little Traverse Conservancy.

Corey Adkins explains in this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus.

“We just completed the longest boardwalk that the conservancy has done in its history,” said Richard Jenkins with the Little Traverse Conservancy.

We’re going to file this under the “why Northern Michigan is so awesome” category.

“About three years ago we obtained this property, its 145 acre tract of land that is predominately lowlands or wetlands, and we wanted to make it a place, a park where people can enjoy nature in this area. So we partnered with Little Traverse Conservancy because we couldn’t afford to maintain the land ourselves,” explained Cheboygan City Manager Tom Eustice.

But part of the deal was the city wanted the public to be able to access the property. That’s where Huron Pines comes in. They secured the funding. This boardwalk isn’t cheap.

“This is one of the last places of its kinds in Michigan, so one of the high priorities for Huron Pines and the Huron Pines Land Protection Program is to think about and work with community partners and other funding agencies and other nonprofit agencies to protect those last great places in Northern Michigan,” said Heather Huffstutler, land protection director at Huron Pines.

And even though it looks like a gross, nasty swamp it’s anything but that.

“It’s ideal vegetation on this property to cleanse stormwater and it’s a very critical part of our ecosystem to clean the Great Lakes. That’s why we wanted to work with the Little Traverse Conservancy to preserve this area,” explained Tom.

But how do you build such a long boardwalk over such a huge swamp? Dedicated volunteers was the answer.

“It produced some challenges logistically and engineer-wise to sort out the problems. We built a bridge over the Green River we call it, that was incredible challenge but very satisfying work when it’s completed,” said Richard.

Every single board was carried by hand.

“There is this boardwalk that takes to the lake that is a considerable depth of water and had its own challenges,” said Richard.

The walk is stunning and the prize at the end is a great view of Lake Huron.

“Spectacular view of the bridge, Mackinac Island, Bois Blanc Island, boats come out of the Cheboygan River. It really is nice,” explained Richard.

Heather added, “I mean 3500 feet of Lake Huron frontage, I don’t know where that happens.”

It happens here, all because three groups worked together and cared.

This Saturday at 10 a.m. they’re having a ribbon-cutting to introduce and open the Duncan Bay Preserve to everyone.

“Take your time, let nature come to you and you will see everything you want to see,” said Richard.

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus