Legacy’s mission is to secure for current and future generations a land base for nature, agriculture, fresh water and recreation in Washtenaw and Jackson Counties and beyond.
Founded in 1971, Legacy Land Conservancy is Michigan’s oldest organization dedicated to the voluntary conservation of locally important land. Faced with growing concerns about the potential for development of land along the Huron River, a group of Ann Arbor leaders banded together to acquire land along the river and keep it in public trust. From those humble beginnings, Legacy has grown to over 7,000 acres of conserved lands that provide safe drinking water, places to play, and vibrant local farms, all right here, where we live.
These founders called their organization the Washtenaw Land Conservancy. Its work produced such community gems as the Osborne Mills Riverlands Preserve, Black Pond Woods, and parts of Bandemer and Bird Hills Parks.
In 1989, the Potawatomi Land Trust was formed to focus on the protection of farmland. Potawatomi began with the Community Farm of Ann Arbor, one of the first farms in the nation to experiment with community supported agriculture. This effort culminated in 2004, with the acceptance of a conservation agreement from Isabelle Yingling, of Lima Township, whose farm is leased to the Community Farm. This project was completed with scores of individual contributions. The personal nature of this giving is a tribute to the importance placed on this unique community asset, and the commitment of our community to voluntary conservation.
In 1999, Washtenaw Land Conservancy and Potawatomi Land Trust merged to form the Washtenaw Land Trust. The collaboration between their similar missions has led to new success. Today, more than 100 individual properties have been conserved — forever.
In 2008, the Land Trust took steps to formally extend its service area throughout Jackson County. This action was in response to increased landowner interest, and recognition that Jackson County possesses some of the world’s rarest natural areas, worthy of a concentrated land protection effort. The organization acted to reflect this new reality by changing its name to Legacy Land Conservancy. Shortly thereafter, Legacy became one of the first accredited land trusts in the nation. This accreditation is a testament to over 40 years of voluntary conservation, supported by our extended community, and adhering to a set of standards designed to help guarantee that our work will endure forever.
In late 2014, Legacy was reaccredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
Legacy Land Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) organization, and a member of the Land Trust Alliance and Heart of the Lakes.
THE EMERALD ARC
“Make no small plans, for they have not the power to move men’s souls.”…Daniel Burnham
In 2008, Legacy Land Conservancy set a goal of protecting 25,000 acres of the most important lands in Washtenaw and Jackson Counties. This “Emerald Arc” extends from Pinckney State Recreation Area on the north, to Hayes State Park on the south. It includes portions of the Huron, Raisin, Grand, and Kalamazoo rivers. Both sides of the Arc are bordered by some of America’s most productive farmland. Working with our partners and with the community, Legacy is committed to ensuring that future generations enjoy the clean water, fresh food, and peaceful recreational opportunities that have characterized Washtenaw and Jackson counties for generations.
LEGACY’S STRATEGIC PLAN
In 2008, Legacy Land Conservancy adopted a strategic vision for the land conservation it would undertake. This vision is supported by a Strategic Plan, updated routinely, that sets out the broad focus for the organization. Please take a moment and review Legacy’s current strategic plan here. Your thoughts are appreciated.