The Crystal River could have become part of a resort and golf course, but thanks to the Leelanau Conservancy’s vision, two decades of negotiation and two loans from The Conservation Fund, 104 critical acres are now part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, protected for future generations by the National Park Service.

This effort required a congressionally approved park boundary change and a gutsy financial commitment from the Leelanau Conservancy’s board. Finally, with the Fund’s support, this haven will remain a favorite place for the wild—and the wild at heart.

“The Conservation Fund was absolutely critical to the Crystal River project. We borrowed $2.1 million while we waited for federal funding for the last 59 acres to come through. With our annual budget of just $600,000, a purchase costing more than $4.8 million was a huge risk. We could never have borrowed so much money from a bank.” 
— Susan Price, Chief Financial Officer, Leelanau Conservancy.

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Leelanau Conservancy