SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. — Van Buren County officials have approved a 25-year lease with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to expand Van Buren State Park.
It will now include the Northpoint Conservation Area in South Haven, according to a news release Tuesday.
The 17-acre parcel of land borders the northern boundary of the park and boasts “significant natural, scenic, ecological, biological and recreational assets.”
Existing hiking trails are popular for bird watching and lead visitors through rare, forested dunes to breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.
The trails are open to hiking year-round.
The new arrangement will place day-to-day management with the DNR.
“We’re excited to formally connect both parcels of public land through this unique partnership with the DNR,” said Richard Godfrey, chair of the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners. “Because the DNR already manages the adjoining land, we determined that establishing common management would best ensure that the fragile, critical dune land is preserved and remains accessible to the public.”
Set along a one-mile stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline, the state park is home to high dune formations, a modern campground, woodland trails and a day-use area.
The park’s most prominent natural features are its sandy beach, forested dunes, interdunal wetlands and diverse vegetation.
About 340 feet of additional lakeshore will join seamlessly with the already existing mile of state park beach.