Page 12 - Color Tour 2018
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Fruitless search for ‘ugly’ on a Leelanau Color Tour
Beauty seems to surround a Leelanau Color Tour, whether it follows the Circle Tour or strays from M-22.
By Alan Campbell
Special to the Color Tour
Go ahead. Try to get lost on a peninsula.
If you believe that suggestion to be counterintuitive, how about tack- ling a bigger task.
Try to pick out an ugly place for your Leelanau Color Tour.
“It’s hard not to  nd nice places,” suggests Brian Price, who had the privilege before retirement of seek- ing out and preserving some of the most beautiful properties in the country. Brian Price and his wife, Susan, held the positions of execu- tive and  nance directors of the Conservancy for more than 25 years.
The Prices helped build the
Conservancy into a premier land trust, having preserved over 13,000 acres and created 25 natural areas with more than 15 miles of hiking trails.
Fall is a special time in Leelanau County, Brian Price said.
“You’d have to really work to  nd drab places during color season. That would be quite an achieve- ment,” he said.
His favorites? Of course, he’s familiar with Conservancy lands. He suggests using the nonpro t’s website as a guide.
But he did have ideas east, north and west.
On the east side of the county, there’s Belanger Creek Preserve, one of the Conservancy’s early suc- cess story. The 68-acre tract, which
is best seen on a guided hike, was preserved in 1988. It includes 800 feet of Belanger Creek, once known for its smelt runs, that drains 5,600 acres into West Grand Traverse Bay.
Some of the prettiest fall colors are found on stressed maple trees that grow with their feet in the water, a specialty of the Belanger Creek drainage.
“Any place you get a view over swampy areas with red maples, they’re beautiful that time of year,” Price said.
Following iconic M-22 north along a “circle tour” will put you near Northport, which necessitates visits to Peterson Park, the Grand Traverse Lighthouse and the Conservancy’s Lighthouse West Natural Area.
On your way south to Leland on the west side of the Peninsula, take a hike up Clay Cliffs Natural Area to view autumn colors around north Lake Leelanau to the east and the Manitou and Fox islands in Lake Michigan to the west — all from one vantage point. It’s another Conservancy gem.
After a required stop at Leland to encourage salmon trying to make an impossible journey over the dam at Fishtown, it’s on to National Park country.
If you haven’t given up your search for that ugly piece of ground, it’s time to be overwhelmed. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore encompasses more than 70,000 acres — lots of room to hide
leelanau color tour 2018
Circling back to too much beauty

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