Celebration set to take place April 17 for conservation of Schoneboom Property in Barry County

The 16,000-acre Barry State Game Area has grown by 355 acres with the acquisition of the Schoneboom property on the southeast edge of the State Game Area.

Acquisition of the land comes after nearly eight years of discussions. It increases wildlife-related recreation and habitat management opportunities for the area, says the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy.
 
The Schoneboom property is the largest-ever addition to the Barry State Game Area, and features a mix of farmland, forest and wetlands, as well as a headwaters segment of the Glass Creek, recognized as the highest quality stream in the Thornapple River Watershed.

In 2009, working with a broad base of partners, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy created the Barry State Game Area Conservation Plan. In that plan, the Schoneboom property was identified as the No. 1 priority parcel to protect. 

In the summer of 2010, SWMLC Conservation and Projects Manager Emily Wilke began conservation efforts and discussions with the landowners about protecting their land that lasted over seven years. Ultimately, Wilke and the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy partnered with the Michigan DNR, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and Tyden Ventures to fund the purchase of the Schoneboom property.

“Conserving this property was so important because it helps prevent forest fragmentation, and creates one, large contiguous protected natural area that includes the headwaters of the Glass Creek Watershed,” says Wilke. “This region also protects extremely ecologically sensitive lands and provides essential habitat for rare and endangered species like the Cerulean Warbler.”
 
On Tuesday, April 17, the Michigan DNR is inviting the public to a celebration event and dedication in honor of the conservation of the Schoneboom property. The event will take place across the street from McCallum Church at 5505 Otis Lake Road, and will begin at 1:30 p.m. 

The dedication will kick off with a few words by DNR Deputy Director Bill O’Neill, DNR Wildlife Chief Russ Mason, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy Executive Director Pete Ter Louw, and Tom Groos of Tyden Ventures. The dedication ceremony will be followed by light refreshments at 2 p.m., and a guided hike at 2:30 p.m. The public is welcome to come and explore this new part of the Barry State Game Area.

Source: Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy
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