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Community Foundation, Land Conservancy Partner with County to Support Former Camp Greilick Property

[Photo credit: Nate Richardson, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy | Image description: A wooded area at the former Greilick property with Rennie Lake seen between the trees in the backgroujnd.]

The Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation and the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy are partnering with Grand Traverse County to support and further protect the former Camp Greilick property. The County Board approved plans at their regular public meeting this morning to purchase the property for $3 million and convert it to a public park.

“This is a victory for our residents and I commend the County Board of Commissioners, staff, and Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy for preserving our heritage for future generations,” said Grand Traverse County Commissioner, Rob Hentschel.

“We are excited by the opportunity to bring this amazing piece of regional history into the Grand Traverse County Parks system,” said John Chase, Director of Parks and Recreation for Grand Traverse County. “We look forward to working with our community to develop a plan to continue the outdoor recreation and education tradition that so many have experienced over the years at this property. Thank you to all who have shown their support of this important addition, and we look forward to working together to create a wonderful park.”

Located in the Boardman/Ottaway River watershed, the Greilick property covers 196 acres with 4,310 feet of frontage on Rennie, Spider, and Bass Lakes and contains vast areas of upland forests. It is also near thousands of acres of protected land and connects to numerous trail systems.

Glen Chown, Executive Director for the Land Conservancy, applauded the County Board of Commissioners for their commitment to maximizing access to our region’s outdoor recreation opportunities through this acquisition: “This public-private partnership showcases the power of working together to protect our natural resources for the benefit of our region now and for future generations.”

While the property is currently protected with a conservation easement designed to balance the land’s conservation values and the camp’s future growth, the Land Conservancy is working with the county to strengthen the terms of the easement to further safeguard the land and water. Thanks to a generous “conservation angel,” the Land Conservancy secured the $3.25 million needed to purchase the property and will hold it until the County is able to complete its due diligence and purchase it in full by September 1, 2024.

In addition, the Community Foundation stewards the existing approximately $150,000 Greilick Endowment, which benefits the property, and is working closely with the Land Conservancy to grow this permanent fund to a minimum of $1.5 million. The Endowment will provide the County with annual funding to support the property’s care and maintenance. Stewardship activities for the property may include restoring and improving habitats for wildlife and water quality and building and maintaining recreation-related infrastructure such as the existing buildings, trails, signage, and parking areas.

“We are now beginning to fundraise for the Greilick Endowment in collaboration with the Land Conservancy,” said David Mengebier, President & CEO of the Community Foundation. “The future park will be an incredible asset to our community as it will not only support the protection of our local land, air, and water but it will also promote health and wellness through outdoor recreation opportunities for area youth and families.”

To gather feedback about the future park, Grand Traverse County Parks & Recreation staff is hosting a public input session on Tuesday, May 21 at 7:00 pm at the McMullen Family Conservation Center at Mitchell Creek Meadows: the Don & Jerry Oleson Nature Preserve, 2846 3 Mile Rd North in Traverse City. Everyone is welcome to attend. Gifts to the Greilick Endowment are also welcome at the Community Foundation’s website: https://www.gtrcf.org/give/our-funds.html/19/.