Legacy Land Conservancy (formerly Washtenaw Land Trust) protects the forests, fields, wetlands, and working farms of southern Michigan. Serving Washtenaw and Jackson counties, Legacy’s mission is to protect local nature and farmland, forever.

Legacy Land Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-governmental organization. Legacy preserves land by negotiating legal agreements, known as conservation agreements, with private landowners, and occasionally accepting donations of land. They also operate five nature preserves on land donated to Legacy, which are free and open to the public.

Nationally recognized for conservation excellence, Legacy is among the first conservancies nationwide to be awarded accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.


In the late 1960s a small team of Washtenaw county locals joined together to help safeguard open space along the Huron River. This team became the Washtenaw Land Conservancy in 1971, the first local land trust in Michigan. These people worked diligently to protect the lands that we know now to be part of our community park systems – including the Osborne Mill Riverlands Preserve, now managed by Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission, and the City of Ann Arbor’s Bandemer Park, Bird Hills Nature Area, and Black Pond Woods.

Another nearby group of individuals formed the Potawatomi Land Trust in 1989, focusing on protecting our region’s fertile farmland. With similar goals, these two organizations created a partnership and eventually merged in 1999, calling themselves the Washtenaw Land Trust. The Land Trust expanded again in 2003 with a merger with the Waterloo Land Conservancy Trust. In 2009, the Washtenaw Land Trust changed its name to Legacy Land Conservancy, to reflect its regional scope.

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