Supporters of a proposed wildlife center planned to seek the support of the Traverse City Commission this week for a larger alternative to the Clinch Park Zoo.
Karen Culp of the Citizens for a Wildlife Education Center said the group of at least 20 hopes to establish a new home for the animals of the Clinch Park Zoo. Recently a zoo review committee recommended in a 7-5 vote that the substandard zoo on West Bay be closed.
We‘re working to make this a regional wildlife center, Culp says. We want to bring the city‘s zoo into the 21st century.
She adds that the group includes experts in zoology, members of the zoo review
committee and Richard Miller, who is currently president of the Grand Traverse
As the Express went to press, members of the group were planning to meet with the city commission at a Dec. 12 study session to discuss the fate of the Clinch Park Zoo.
Ideally, they‘d like to establish a regional wildlife center with the cooperation of both the city and Grand Traverse County. One suggested site might be a 500-acre stretch along the Boardman
River in the local Conservation District. A multi-acre site would make it possible to construct large habitats for the Michigan animal exhibits.
Culp cautions that the planning is still very tentative, including the funding and possible locations for a wildlife center. At this point, the Citizens are investigating the possibility of collaborative efforts with local governments and organizations.
We know we‘re at the very beginning of this and we‘ve sent the city commission a letter asking for their support.
-- by Robert Downes
CEDAR LAKE: The Leelanau Conservancy has signed an option to purchase a historic farmstead with nearly a mile of frontage on Cedar Lake. The 145-acre Louis DeYoung farm is just northwest of Traverse City, with frontage on both sides of Cherry Bend Road.
On Dec.1, the Conservancy put down $50,000 on the $1.8 million purchase. They must raise another $130,000 within 91 days and the full amount by June 1. The TART trail runs through a portion of the land on the lake side.
Plans for the ultimate use of the property are still in the works, but current owners and the Leelanau Conservancy envision it free of development and a place where the public can come to recreate, enjoy nature and possibly learn about community-supported agriculture.
The 145 acres sits in the middle of a rapidly developing residential area. The DeYoung family turned away many offers from developers and sacrificed financially by offering this property to the Conservancy because they care tremendously about seeing it remain as it is today, said Matt Heiman, a land protection specialist with the Leelanau Conservancy who has worked with the family for the last four years. Under some scenarios, the property could have supported as many as 100 homes.
The land became available when Louis DeYoung, Sr. passed away last year at the age of 104. His son, Ted, says it was his fathers dream to see the land forever preserved. They began exploring options with the Conservancy late in 2003.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA: It was high-fives all around for local cannibis activists who cheered the news last week that the Michigan Legislature will consider a bill supporting medical marijuana.
The bill was introduced to the Michigan House of Representatives by State Rep. LaMar Lemmons III (D-Detroit) with eight co-sponsors. Members of Michigan NORML are looking for a member of the State Senate to introduce a companion bill, making it possible for those suffering from cancer, MS, glaucoma and other debilitating diseases to obtain the pain-reducing benefits of pot.