100 More Acres for Preservation and Play

                The Hansville Greenway is about to grow, thanks to a generous bequest, reserved funds, and a flood of donations.

                The idea was hatched in the summer of 2020 by Hansville neighbors Darcy Herrett, Ryan Ross, and Jane Jacobs who reached out to the Greenway about the possibility of purchasing the land south of the Ridge at Buck Lake.  At the time, the Greenway only had $30,000 in reserves and did not see a path forward, however, in December 2020, the Greenway received a bequest from the estate of Joan Martin increasing funds to over $100,000.  During a December 2020 Greenway Meeting, Ryan Ross and Jane Jacobs made another request for the Greenway to investigate purchasing these lands.  Ken Shawcroft, one of the founders of the Greenway, and Michael Szerlog, the president of the Hansville Greenway Association, contacted Nate Daniel and Erik Steffens with the Great Peninsula Conservancy to set up a meeting to discuss this possible project.  A virtual Zoom call on December 29, 2020, led to the start of a partnership between GPC, Hansville Greenway, and community members to set forward the Hansville Greenway West property acquisition project.

                “We originally looked at 147 acres, but 47 were sold off,” Michael says.

                Securing the remaining 100 acres for preservation and recreation use became a priority.

                “It eliminates pressure to develop. There’s less traffic and more open spaces,” Michael says.

                The acreage is behind Driftwood Key and includes a broad swath of land between The Ridge at Buck Lake and the current Greenway. The Greenway needed $1.8 million in pledges by the middle of November to show that buying the property is actually viable.  Thanks to the team above, including neighbor Bryann Bingham and Katherine Tacke with GPC, they met the deadline and started focusing on the $2.15 million total they need to purchase the land by mid-January. They’re still accepting donations of any size.

                The plan is to restore the area to its natural state. It was logged over the years and replanted with Douglas fir, a cash crop.

                “We’ll remove all the non-native species,” Michael says. “It’s an opportunity to add diversity.”

                Any extra funds raised will be used as seed money for grants for planting and establishing trails.

                “There will be lots of opportunities to volunteer, get involved in trail maintenance,” he says. “There’s a lot to do down the road.”

                But first they must cross the start line. To help with donations, visit greatpeninsula.org. Great Peninsula Conservancy is the financial partner of the Hansville Greenway.

                In breaking news—Sid Knutson’s sons have told us that his memorial service is postponed indefinitely due to the latest Covid breakout. They will let us know when they plan it.

Cynthia Taggart