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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

Aldo Leopold Festival

The fifth annual Aldo Leopold Festival is scheduled for May 30 through June 2, 2019. The Avery Arts and Nature Center in Hessel will be the home base for this event. New sessions this year include:

  • Fascinating World of Bumblebees
  • Carnivorous plants
  • Build your own paddle
  • The Citizen Science Program
  • And more!

Presentations of wild flowers, birding, dragonflies and more will compliment nature preserve hikes, migratory bird observations and exploring the wildflowers of the area.

Registration will be open beginning March 1 at www.aldoleopoldfestival.com.

This nationally unique Festival aims to highlight the natural beauty, wildlife and variety of birds of the Les Cheneaux area, part of which inspired Aldo Leopold to write his essays and book, Sand County Almanac, on land ethics and preserving our wilderness areas. His work and writings helped shape the modern conservation movement in America, and in 1935 Aldo and six others formed The Wilderness Society, a national organization that works to protect and preserve wilderness land for all to enjoy. The Society has helped to protect more than 109 million acres across 44 states.  Leopold spent many youthful summers at his family's cottage on Marquette Island and his father served as president of the Les Cheneaux Club from 1909 to 1911.