Along the banks of the Chippewa River, a small piece of land was purchased by Peter and Cameron Szok with the intent to donate the property to the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy as a resource to the community. The 3.4-acre piece of property has roughly 1,000 feet of frontage on the Chippewa River and will serve as a key entrance point to the river. “The Stephen and Agnes Szok Riverbend Preserve would provide a much needed place of entry between Mt. Pleasant’s Island Park and Geneva Road,” Peter Szok states in a letter to Little Forks.
Prior to donating the property to the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy, Peter and Cameron Szok worked with Little Forks Conservancy to develop a conservation easement for the property to ensure the land will be protected while allowing for future river access. This provided a unique opportunity for Little Forks Conservancy to strengthen a valuable partnership with the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy, protect and improve a vital waterway, and establish a lasting relationship with the Szok family – who had previously donated Peter’s parents’ property to Little Forks, one of the organization’s five publicly accessible nature preserves. “I could never have envisaged the network of well-used parks, paths, and preserves which now dot many parts of the watershed and which add so much to residents’ quality of life,” expressed Peter Szok.
Lipschitz, Director of Land Conservation. Little Forks will work closely with Chippewa Watershed Conservancy to create a safe launch area for kayakers and canoeists.
“We were delighted to work with Peter on another successful conservation project. The Stephen and Agnes Szok Riverbend Preserve protects over 1,000 feet of scenic Chippewa River riparian corridor and supports a surprising amount of biodiversity given its size. The location of this nature preserve is strategic as it will serve as an important public access location for activities such as paddling, fishing and wildlife viewing, opening up an entire section of the river that is currently underutilized. The conservation easement held on the property by our partners at The Little Forks Conservancy will ensure an additional layer of protection on this important natural area,” stated Jon Breithaupt, Executive Director at Chippewa Watershed Conservancy.
“Peter and Cameron’s dedication to protecting natural areas and sharing with the mid-Michigan community the opportunity to access these special places is remarkable. It speaks volumes to their commitment to conservation,” commented Greg Yankee, Executive Director.