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Addison approves acquisition of Trask property

June 30, 2010 - The Addison Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the land acquisition of the Trask property on Monday, June 21.

The 82-acre property, which is owned by Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy, is located in Leonard at the northeast corner of Leonard and Haven roads and would be converted into a public park for recreational use.

"We are pretty excited about it because it is a beautiful lake and a natural habitat," said Addison Supervisor Bruce Pearson.

The acquisition is the culmination of over six months worth of work that the township has done since it was awarded $428,000 in grant money from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board in December.

"They have so many steps that you have to go through and they don't want you to jump the gun on anyone one of them until they review what you have sent," Pearson said.

The park's intended use would be for nature walks, fishing, boating and hunting for the handicapped.

"We have several of the hunt clubs from around the area who are willing to take handicapped hunters out in the area and guide them," he added.

An easement between Addison Township and the Department of Natural Resources states that the township cannot build anything on the property.

However, there are two sections located on the property that are not part of the easement. The first is a 10 acre section that already holds a house and barn, which will be turned into a parking lot and gathering place for the hunters.

There is also a small section off Haven Rd that will be turned into additional parking.

According to Pearson, the land acquisition will not cost the township anything because they are using grant money from the state.

Six Rivers will be splitting the cost with the state. The state will be supplying 63 percent of the total cost, while Six Rivers will be supplying 37 percent.

The final cost of the project will be determined when the state receives the final appraisal on the property.

Pearson indicated to the board that in order to keep the natural beauty of the park, he did not want to open the park up to public boats. Instead, Pearson wanted rental boats to be made available to those interested in going out on the lake.

"We should keep several boats there that people are allowed to use so they are not bringing in boats from Lake St. Clair and bringing in Zebra Mussels and things like that," Pearson said.

Leonard resident Curt Steenson agreed with Pearson.

"It is our intention to do all we can to preserve this natural resource and we do not wish to see this lake invaded with invasive species brought in foreign watercraft," Steenson said.

Steenson asked the board to think about putting signs along Haven Rd and at park access that state the denial of public boats. He also suggested that the township clearly mark the boats that they are renting out so they could be easily identifiable.

By acquiring the land, Pearson hopes to maintain the land's natural beauty.

"It's going to keep this beautiful piece of land in it's natural state for future generations to come...this is where all of your clean water is," he said.

He added that the land is part of the Watershed Preserve and that the lake is one of the tributaries that flows into the Clinton River and Bell River, the latter of which goes all the way up to Marine City.

The only thing that separates the 82 acres from the township's 229-acre Watershed Preserve is another 80-acre piece of land, which is currently owned by a private party.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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