Robinson Nature Preserve Dedicated in Emmet County Honoring Gold Star Families

Gold Star Families in northern Michigan have a new spot dedicated to them in Emmet County.

The Little Traverse Conservancy unveiled the Robinson Nature Preserve Tuesday morning.

The donated land is named in honor of a local Navy SEAL who died while serving our county.

A piece of land in Emmett County, is now a special place for military families that have endured unimaginable pain, losing a son or daughter in combat.

The Robinson Nature Preserve is named after Heath Robinson, a Petoskey native who was killed while serving as a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan.

Friday marks ten years since Heath’s death.

Dan Robinson is his father.

“He got a phone call, and I said hey, how’s it going son? He said dad, shut up and listen. And I thought ok, he’s just having a bad day, I realized then, now that he’s in California, so it was a quarter to six in the morning there, when it was quarter to nine for me here. And he said Heath has been killed. And those four words just didn’t make any sense they resonated with nothing I was looking at,” said Dan.

And that’s a big reason the Little Traverse Conservancy wanted to dedicate this space for gold star families, giving them a place to come in those darkest of moments.

“It’s fantastic. In fact, I’m kind of nervous about it because I have such a deep respect for this group of people. This is to me about land conservation and living legacy coming together where they perfectly meet. This land will stand forever, and it will hold that name forever, and it’s with no small irony that that’s because of the sacrifice that these families have made.” Said Kieran Flemming, Executive Director of the Little Traverse Conservancy.

A place to grieve, reflect and remember.

“My grandkids can come up now and see it, and their kids and their kids. What this means to me is that we are honored to have this in the family name, but the real recognition, and the premise and the purpose of this, is to honor and salute gold star families,” said Robinson.