Petobego Pond was a big winner at the Natural Resources Trust Fund board meeting this week. The fund board recommended spending almost $2.5 million to help preserve 43 acres at the south end of the pond along East Grand Traverse Bay near Elk Rapids. The land is privately owned and forms a peninsula between the bay and the pond.
Glen Chown at the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy calls the area the “finest example of a Great Lakes coastal marshland anywhere.” Most of the pond is already protected as part of the Petobego State Game Area. The conservancy also has a large preserve adjacent on the south side called Maple Bay Natural Area.
The conservancy has an option to purchase the 43 acres and when that is exercised the entire area will feature 1,000 acres of contiguous public land and a mile of Grand Traverse Bay shoreline. Chown says that is probably a year away and will require more fundraising. Until then, it remains private property and is off limits to beach goers.
Chown says they have been trying to preserve this land since the day he started his job almost 25 years ago.
"This is crucial to protect," he says.
The area is also a popular staging point for kiteboarders.