Upper Manistee Headwaters: Former Boy Scout Camp Opens to Public as Land Preserve
The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy protects and preserves land for future generations, and they just opened up their newest land preserve in Kalkaska County called the Upper Manistee Headwaters: The Milock Family Preserve.
“The property is 1,280 acres, which is one of the largest privately-held properties in our region,” said GTLRC Director of Stewardship David Foote. “It also has 350 acres of wetlands and, more importantly, it’s got 13 independent types of wetlands, which are most of the wetlands that we have in Michigan, all on one site.”
The journey to purchase the land was not an easy one. The land was originally Flint Boy Scout Council’s Camp Tapico since 1946.
“We learned that the Scouts were going to sell the property about three years ago,” said GTLRC Executive Director Glen Chown. “The Scouts were interested in [selling to us] but they got three offers full price cash offers, including one from a developer.”
After several generous donations, the GTRLC was able to purchase the land and open it July 2020 after almost four years of renovations.
“It’s got a mile and a half of the north branch of the Manistee River on the property,” Foote said. “So water coming out of Manistee Lake mixes in with water coming off of this site and then heads downstream and ultimately ends up in Manistee where it empties out on Lake Michigan.”
There are seven miles of trails to explore by hiking, biking, or snowshoeing in the winter. Grass Lake is open for fishing and swimming. There is a picnic area and a 250 seat amphitheater for nature talks and presentations.
“There are very few properties anywhere of this quality and this diversity,” Chown said. “We’re just excited to share it with the community and we’re excited to continue the good stewardship that the Boy Scouts did since 1946.”