Cover

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Advance Praise, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Author's Note

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pp. xi-xiv

Arcadia’s story is a universal story: the simple act of a stranger coming to town. I suppose in Arcadia’s case, there was a series of strangers. First Derks, then Glen, then me. Derks arrived at Arcadia Dunes in 1969, the year I was born, and he set off a cascade of events that impacted...

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Prologue: 1998

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pp. 1-4

The day I arrived in Traverse City I carried nothing except the clothes on my back. It was blizzard weather. My luggage was stranded in a Chicago snowstorm and it was unlikely we’d be reunited before 10 a.m. tomorrow. Cherry Capital was by far the smallest airport I’d ever seen. Back then it...

Part I. Beginnings: 1969–1989

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1. Dry Hill

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pp. 7-18

So far no one had been able to tell me. This man who changed so many lives was like a specter hovering faceless over Arcadia. Or at least that’s how I imagined him. Of course, it had been nearly forty years since the stranger had arrived, a city man with a list of properties to buy. “He...

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2. Interlude

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pp. 19-24

That might have been the end, of course. If the story of Arcadia had gone the usual way, Elaine’s children might have grown up and moved on, remembering only a reservoir on the land that straddled Benzie and Manistee counties. The landscape would have vanished, flattened and...

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3. Innkeepers

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pp. 25-46

These were the early days after I got hired, and self-appointed guides like Carl were eager to show me around Benzie County. I nodded, a bit surprised. Carl Freeman was a dragonfly expert and a watercolor painter who ambled through the marshes and forests with binoculars looped over his...

Part II. Dune Giants: 1991–2003

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4. Trailblazing

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pp. 49-64

If someone had told me that I would need calculus to save life on earth, I would have sat up and paid attention in high school.
The wind was blowing the sweet scent of lake water off Lake Mendota, the scent of freshwater with a mix of leopard frogs and cattails. I often...

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5. Dune Dreams

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pp. 65-76

Of all the natural wonders in Michigan, the Great Lakes coastline and sand dunes are exceptional. Not only are they stop-in-your-tracks-andstare beautiful, they’re a boost for biodiversity—species live here that are unique on earth. Not many species can tough it out on the dry dunes...

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6. Talking to Giants

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pp. 77-84

Helen had agreed to join Glen for his first big meeting with CMS executives, held that same fall, September 2000. Helen Taylor was the director of the Nature Conservancy’s Michigan chapter, and she brought with her the nonprofit’s statewide, national, and international...

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7. Dune Diligence

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pp. 85-96

Just when Rodger consented to our Stand-Still Agreement, another dune deal appeared to delight and distract us: Green Point Dunes.
I’d longed to preserve this gem for years. From the top of Green Point Dunes, you could sweep your eyes across the entire expanse of the...

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8. Beach Walks and Brick Walls

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pp. 97-110

When I’d first arrived in Traverse City, I’d met so many Conservancy board members, donors, and landowners it was hard to keep them straight. But one stood out: Reg Bird.
It had been Reg who’d told Dori about the new land trust in town and urged her to relieve development...

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9. Waking the Giant

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pp. 111-132

The Enron scandal burst upon the scene. Next Dynegy, another energytrading company, fell. The web of corporate corruption kept expanding and by early 2002 it had entangled CMS Energy. “CMS Energy Admits to Bogus Power Trades” blared the headlines on May 16, 2002. “CMS...

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10. Dune Flowers

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pp. 133-140

After three years of false starts, CMS Energy was finally willing and eager to sit at the negotiating table with us. Speed was key to our offer. “A fast nickel beats a slow dime,” Glen constantly chanted.
We boldly offered $18 million cash in ninety days. But our ability to...

Part III. Coastal Campaign: 2003–2005

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11. Watervale and Crystal Downs

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pp. 143-158

Fritz Duda was flabbergasted. How could a pipsqueak nonprofit group like the Conservancy have snatched an option to buy the Arcadia land out from under him? His realtor, Lynne, told me the story. She’d tried to warn Duda. “There is another offer on the table,” she’d said...

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12. Arcadia

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pp. 159-176

Across from Watervale Road stood the Blaine Township Cemetery. Township clerk Charlotte Putney sold a set of eight gravesites for $200. It used to be only $2 when she started the job thirty-three years ago, but costs were rising, and Blaine Township was obliged to adjust its fees...

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13. August

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pp. 177-186

Across the bedroom, the clock radio blinked 3 a.m. Glen stared at the red glowing numbers and tossed in bed. His mind raced with worry. He had been out at Watervale with donors past 10 p.m., then retraced the dark route home for an hour and a half, entering the silent house at midnight...

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14. Sand Bag

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pp. 187-196

Despite our summer’s success, we still couldn’t talk about the deal. The burden of the secret was unbearable. It was like winning the lottery and not being able to spill the happy news.
“It ain’t over until it’s over,” Glen said again and again. During the heat of CMS Energy negotiations, board...

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15. Lansing

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pp. 197-210

The Conservancy needed more money than private donors could give. The support from Watervale, Arcadia, and Crystal Downs, not to mention the Kellogg and Mott foundations, was massive, but we needed something bigger. The Conservancy had to woo public dollars, too. Even...

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16. Heartbreak Hill

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pp. 211-230

A week later I stood in the bank parking lot at 6 a.m. The December day was still draped in darkness, and would be for another two hours. Beside me, Rick held my hand, his mittened paw in mine. We’d been married seven months, and I was still savoring the simple fact that someone was...

Part IV. More Beginnings: 2005–2009

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17. Commencement

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pp. 233-248

It wasn’t the end, it was the beginning. Just as college graduation is aptly called commencement, we were entering a new era. Commencement of a lifetime—no, of multiple lifetimes—of stewardship. Land protection work is never done; the reward for success is constant vigilance. Now...

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18. Aftermath

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pp. 249-258

Dori’s uncle Oscar sat looking out the west windows of his cottage and fumed. At age ninety-four, he used a lift chair now. From his station in the living room he could see the play of reflections on beech leaves, pine, and cedar boughs as Lake Michigan sparkled below. But although he...

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19. The Church at Putney Corners

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pp. 259-268

Through all this, I was studying farm maps. During the main fundraising and landscape planning stages, the farmers’ questions had had to stay on the back burner, but now it was time to dig into the details. How would sales of farmland work? Who would get to bid on the land? What...

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20. Letting Go

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pp. 269-274

That spring I lingered as I hiked the forest ridges at Arcadia. The loggers’ cuts had removed some large black cherries that I still missed, but the forest itself was thriving. I bent to examine the white flying pants of the Dutchman’s breeches springing up at the roots of a beech. Above my head...

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21. Heart and Soul

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pp. 275-284

There’s hope on Dry Hill once more. When I drive up the ridge past Putney Corners, up the Arcadia Dunes backlands, I see vast changes. The fields of ancient, wizened trunks are gone. Ever since the farm sales, Evans Brothers Orchards, Snyder Farm, and others have been pulling...

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Epilogue: 2015

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pp. 285-288

The story of Arcadia Dunes does not end, but we must leave it somewhere. For each of us, that’s a different spot in time.
Abby’s Woods was dedicated on a blustery, cold spring day. I arrived at the edge of the forest along with scores of others, my children bundled...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 289-292

I am grateful to the generous hearts of those who love the land and were willing to share their story. We are all better off for making room for places like Arcadia Dunes on this earth. Perhaps this tale of forest, farms, and sand dunes can inspire others to save their beloved places...

List of Characters

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pp. 293-296

Timeline of Arcadia Dunes

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pp. 297-298

Main Sources

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pp. 299-304

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About the Author

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p. 305

Heather Shumaker has worked in land conservation for two decades and was coastal program director for protecting Arcadia Dunes. She has a master of science degree in land resources from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is a national...