Aldo Leopold Park & Preserve

In 2014, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources contacted Clark Township inquiring if the Township would be interested in receiving two parcels of state-owned property, about 39 acres, on Marquette Island off Duck and Voight Bays. The Township readily agreed. The two parcels were transferred to Clark Township with the stipulation they were to be used for public access to Marquette Island. Today, those 39 acres are known as Leopold Landing.

About the same time, the Little Traverse Conservancy was concluding negotiations with various property owners on Marquette Island to establish the 1,683-acre Aldo Leopold Preserve. The Preserve abuts the Seiberling-Stewart Nature Preserve which includes another 192 acres and 4,200 feet of Lake Huron frontage, overlooking Marquette Bay and Lake Huron. The three parcels added together have created 1,914 acres of property that can be explored and appreciated by everyone.

Since then, with grant funds from the Les Cheneaux Community Foundation, the Little Traverse Conservancy, Eastern UP Regional Planning and Development Commission and Clark Township, a new boat dock and a kayak ramp have been installed at Leopold Landing to provide easier access to Marquette Island and the Aldo Leopold Preserve. There are now 3.8 miles of shoreline along with trails that extend across the Preserve, with the primary trailhead being Leopold Landing.

To help protect private property and avoid potential forest fires, both Clark Township and the Little Traverse Conservancy do not allow for overnight camping or picnic fires on their properties. Otherwise, you are invited to use Leopold Landing to explore the Aldo Leopold Preserve, walk the trails, and enjoy your time there.

Marquette Island Map

Annual Aldo Leopold Festival

The Aldo Leopold Festival began in 2014 and is celebrated the first weekend in June with the Hessel School House/Avery Arts and Nature Learning Center as its headquarters (www.hesselschoolhouse.net)  Each year activities, expert presentations, kayaking, and hikes are offered covering the beautiful wilderness and nature in the easter Upper Peninsula and Les Cheneaux Islands from birds to orchids and wild flowers to dragon flies, insects and much more.

The event not only honors Aldo Leopold’s contributions to protecting wilderness areas for future generations, but also enhances our own understanding, appreciation, and awe of the natural world we live in. Aldo Leopold, (1887-1948) considered one of the fathers of the conservation movement, spent several summers growing up on Marquette Island in the early 1900’s where he began to develop his life-long interest and career in the natural world and wilderness of America. He is one of the founders of The Wilderness Society (1935) (www.wilderness.org) dedicated to preserving the ‘wild lands’ in America.

Registration for the sessions usually begins in March of each year.
Go to https://www.aldoleopoldfestival.com for updates and information.