Our Story

Grey Fox

HeadWaters Land Conservancy is a Michigan based 501c3 non-profit land trust comprised of a Staff, Board of Directors, Volunteers and Members like you who all share in the mission of protecting and preserving the remaining undisturbed natural resources of northeast Michigan. These natural resources include regionally important agricultural lands, undeveloped tracts of forests for both timber and wildlife habitat, scenic or aesthetically pleasing landscapes for both daily enjoyment and to encourage tourism, and perhaps the most important, the protection of our fresh water resources in our sensitive swamps, streams, and lakes.

We protect land.

The largest natural lands left in all of Lower Michigan are right here in our back yard.  Not to mention eleven of Michigan’s most important watersheds, including the Lake Huron Shoreline.  When these precious lands are misused or overdeveloped we all suffer – those who are attracted to the region for its beauty and numerous outdoor activities, and those whose livelihoods stem from its abundant resources.

During the last century, the landscape of this region has dramatically begun to change, and at a faster rate than it has been conserved.  HeadWaters Land Conservancy was established in response to such unprecedented growth.  Since its inception in 1994, HeadWaters Land Conservancy has been serving people – those here today, who appreciate these lands and have the foresight to preserve such special places – and those of future generations, who will benefit from our endeavors.  Today, thousands of acres have been permanently protected with the help of our dedicated supporters.

How do we protect land?

  • We enter into conservation easement agreements with private landowners. The landowners retain ownership of the land while the type and amount of future development is permanently restricted.
  • We accept donations of land that possess high quality habitat or significant open space value. 
  • We identify and selectively purchase from willing landowners those properties in northeast Michigan that possess exceptional scenic beauty and ecological significance. 
  • We manage the lands we own as nature preserves to maintain or enhance the natural systems and wildlife habitat. 
  • We seek private monetary donations, secure private and government grants, and forge cooperative partnerships with other conservation organizations and local units of government to accomplish our land protection mission.

HeadWaters Land Conservancy is able to preserve the most outstanding examples of our region in perpetuity by using a land protection tool called a Conservation Easement. A Conservation Easement, sometimes referred to as a conservation agreement, is a voluntary act by a land owner to impose permanent restrictions on their land for its preservation. Restrictions are personalized to the land and the owner. The right to enforce the restrictions is held by HeadWaters Land Conservancy. Each conservation easement is different, just as parcels of land and their special values are different.

 Organizational Overview

A 501(c)(3) public charity, HeadWaters Land Conservancy has been working with landowners and local communities since 1994 to protect and enhance northeast Michigan’s increasingly threatened lands and waters.  You can view a copy of our bylaws here.

Our strategies include: 

  • Preservation: Directly protecting land through conservation easements, land acquisition and effective land management.
  • Community Engagement: Helping to foster a culture of conservation, to support land conservation and funding, and to ensure that Michigan has highly-skilled and informed citizens.

To achieve our mission, we are partnering with individuals like you with these key goals in mind:

  • Secure key habitats to preserve the biodiversity of our native plants and animals
  • Protect sustainably-managed forests to support our forest-based economy and wildlife habitat
  • Keep our water and air clean to ensure we all have enough clean drinking water and fresh air
  • Save our productive farmlands so that every community can benefit from healthy, locally grown food