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Marsin Preserve and Marsin Nature Retreat Center


The late Mary Sinish grew up in the Keweenaw, spending summers along the Portage Waterway on her family's land and visiting her grandfather and great-uncle. Inspired by this experience and those at a Wisconsin summer camp, Mrs. Sinish donated 40 acres to the Keweenaw Land Trust with the intention of making the land available to the public, especially children, to provide opportunities to learn about nature and enjoy the outdoors. Located near Oskar Bay, the Preserve includes forested and shrubby areas with scattered wet meadows that slope to a small upland area. An eagle's nest is visible from the property. A hiking trail, developed by a Boy Scout as part of his Eagle Scout project, is accessible from a parking area off Red Brick Road and passes through an open field and a cedar swamp.

Mrs. Sinish augmented the Preserve and the quality of life for the area's residents when she bequeathed to Keweenaw Land Trust an additional 16 acres, including her two homes along 900 feet of shoreline on Portage Waterway. Mrs. Sinish's vision was to establish a nature center for those with limited access to the serenity of the outdoors. She envisioned a place where the elderly, children, scouts, artists, and groups who work with the disadvantaged could relax, learn, and enjoy all that nature offers. The Marsin Nature Retreat Center, adjacent to the Preserve, operates in partnership with a diversity of nonprofits in the region.

The Preserve was established in 2002. The Nature Retreat Center was established in 2006.

"I wanted to make this land available because you can't learn about trees and water in school the way you can learn math or English."


"My project involved clearing a trail, cutting grass, and laying down woodchips. It was a lot of work. It took cooperation from the businesses that I asked for donations, the troop and their families, and other people from the community. I had to learn to keep on track to get the job done. It felt like a real accomplishment. I hope people will come out here and use it."


Marsin Nature Retreat Center

The Marsin Center will be a centerpiece of the Keweenaw Land Trust's three-part mission of conservation, education, and stewardship. The facility will support KLT's role as a community partner by being available to diverse interest groups, with a special emphasis on fostering a connection to the natural landscape. There is potential for KLT, the Center, and its partners to develop a national model of cooperative community programming in the spirit of land stewardship and conservation.

Marsin Center Resources

The Marsin Nature Retreat Center encompasses 16 acres and 900 feet of shoreline along the Portage Waterway, and includes a residence and other buildings that will be developed into the Center. This Lakeshore Campus adjoins the 40-acre Marsin Preserve that was established in 1999. A dedicated endowment generously gifted along with the property provides for the development and ongoing success of the Center. Guided by our organizational mission and goals, a Marsin Center Advisory Committee is being formed to provide oversight and assist in fostering partnerships within our community to bring energy and services to assist in development of this community resource. The Center is available for group retreats and nature-based activities on a scheduled basis. A resident Property Manager handles facilities maintenance and assists groups using the facilities.

Next Steps

Keweenaw Land Trust is excited to take the lead in developing Mary Sinish's wonderful gift to our community into the enjoyable and lasting resource she envisioned. While the dedicated endowment gets us started in the right direction, the success of the Center and its programs will directly reflect the contributions that we, as a community, are willing to make. We welcome your time, talent and energy. Contact the KLT office at 906-482-0820 to find out more about the Center and volunteer opportunities.

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801 N. Lincoln Dr - Suite 306 - Hancock, MI 49930     Phone: 906-482-0820