June 22, 2017

It Takes a Village: Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy

Imagine easily accessible kayak and canoe launches, woodland trails, and regularly programmed events for youth to play and learn in nature, all integrated into existing urban environments. A grant awarded last year to the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy for its Outdoor Urban Recreation (O.U.R.) Saginaw hopes to transform vacant, neglected, or under-utilized spaces into portals for active outdoor recreation and learning.


Zachary Branigan, executive director of the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy says, “These projects help leverage existing properties that currently eyesores or not being used to their full potential and create new, natural amenities in the City of Saginaw and surrounding areas.”


The projects to be implemented as part of O.U.R. Saginaw include:

• Restoration of a 3-acre site along the Saginaw River adjacent to Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy (SASA)

• Expanding woodland exploration opportunities via single-track trails on a 16-acre site adjacent to and owned by the Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square

• Pollinator plantations across the City of Saginaw on vacant lots held by the Saginaw County Land Bank

• A new nature trail project through wetland areas on the north side of Saginaw Valley State University’s campus


Thriving communities rely on their availability of and accessibility to a variety of outdoor activities like mountain biking, trail running, hiking, canoe and kayak paddling, birdwatching, and fishing. These are the types of amenities known to attract and retain families and help boost the local economy.


“This project is being supported by a wide variety of funders,” said Branigan. “Receiving support from Saginaw Community Foundation is the last piece of the puzzle and validation that we are on the right path. It’s just not possible to do successful community-based projects without involving SCF.”