Who & Where We Serve

The heart of our mission is land protection.  We’ve preserved over 12,000 acres, primarily through the use of conservation easements, and by helping create community conservation areas throughout northeast Michigan.

While Michigan has many acres of land devoted to public parks and natural areas, there are countless places where development and other land uses threaten the quality of wildlife habitat or the purity of our waters. These are the farms, forests, natural shorelines and undeveloped properties owned by individuals and families that when protected, add value to the public lands that already serve us well.  

The purpose of Headwaters Land Conservancy is to help conserve the natural diversity and beauty of northern Michigan by protecting significant private land and scenic areas and fostering appreciation and understanding of the environment. 

Our service area includes Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Crawford, Iosco, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle and Roscommon. Interested in learning more about our service area click the links below to view maps of our service area:

1940 vs 2000 Housing Density Growth

Headwaters Service Area Conservation and Recreation Lands

HWLC Conservation Easements 

What type of lands do we protect?

HeadWaters Land Conservancy considers many types of land worthy of protection, some that landowners might be surprised to find are judged significant. HeadWaters is committed to identifying land and water resources that are valuable to our communities. It could be a farm, a pine barren, a forest or a river. As a community-based organization, HWLC has an interest in preserving areas that are closely identified with their community’s natural heritage. We work with landowners, other conservation organizations and government agencies to protect a variety of lands, but we concentrate our efforts on:

Natural Areas
Forests, grasslands, ponds, pine barrens, wetlands and ecologically sensitive areas that are important as wildlife habitat.

Wetlands, Streams, Rivers and Lakes
Efforts to protect these areas help preserve water quality, provide waterfowl nesting habitat, stabilize shoreline areas, and support fish and other aquatic species.

Working Forest
HeadWaters collaborates with private landowners to help preserve working forest lands and develop sustainable forestry management plans.

Recreational Land
HeadWaters preserves recreation lands for community enjoyment of low-impact, nature-based activities. The
Sturgeon River Preserve is a great example of how we help create public community nature preserves.

Open Spaces
Open areas are important to many cities and towns, whether urban or rural.  HeadWaters work to preserve these spaces for their natural, cultural, recreational and agricultural values.

Park Lands
Park lands acquired by HWLC are often transferred to local governments to manage, or added to existing nature preserve areas.

Scenic or Unique Areas
Scenic views along rural roads or highways in or near a community are part of our cultural heritage, and land trusts use various conservation methods to protect these areas for all to enjoy.

Agricultural Lands
Working farms, orchards and croplands also have a place in the conservation landscape. HeadWaters works to protect land and with significant productive value.

 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.  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