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
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."
EAGLE SCOUT WHO BUILT A TRAIL IN THE
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.
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.
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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