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One of the great appeals of the old Timber Shores site for me is the attraction it holds for birds. The location alone should be enough of a plus—an open, undeveloped spot on Grand Traverse Bay, a welcome resting place for weary spring migrants on their way north, a perfect nesting place for year-round residents.

It’s an avian haven, and we need to embrace it. [...] In about a month’s time, May 14-June 15, we’ve encountered 45 different species (listed below), but that’s only the beginning. We have yet to discover the full bird diversity the site Timber Shores has to offer. [...] New Community Vision needs all of us to join in protecting this site as a nature preserve in perpetuity.

Better still, the area offers three related but distinct habitats for an abundance of birds:

  • wide, grassy fields for Eastern Meadowlarks, Grasshopper Sparrows, and Chipping Sparrows

  • mixed hardwood and evergreen woodlands for Red-eyed Vireos, Black-capped Chickadees, and Indigo Buntings, not to mention a host of warblers; 

  • a rocky and sandy shoreline for Killdeer, Spotted Sandpipers, and Common Mergansers. 


         It’s an avian haven, and we need to embrace it. Because the site has long been closed to the public, local birders haven’t had the opportunity to explore Timber Shores over the seasons. Now, thanks to the generous permission of New Community Vision, I’ve had the good fortune to go birding there several times this spring, along with fellow birders Ed Ketterer and Bert Thomas.

In about a month’s time, May 14-June 15, we’ve encountered 45 different species (listed below), but that’s only the beginning. We have yet to discover the full bird diversity the site Timber Shores has to offer. Ed has wisely suggested getting a bunch of birders to go back more systematically, day after day, and do a more extensive survey of birds. Leelanau County has long been an inviting landing location for all sorts of birds, and this site could well be a very significant addition to the list of local hotspots.

            For that to happen, though, we have to keep the place attractive to birds. Too much human intrusion, especially in the form of permanent paving for RV pads, will change the environment dramatically. Instead, by conserving the land as a place where people can observe and listen to birds in their natural homes, we can create an exciting outdoor science site for local school children, their families, and the thousands of visitors who, like the birds, migrate to Leelanau every year. 

 New Community Vision needs all of us to join in protecting this site as a nature preserve in perpetuity, for these many important bird species and future generations.


Birds observed at Timber Shores from May 14-June 15, 2024

(Listed in taxonomic order)



Common Merganser

Canada Goose

Mourning Dove

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

American Woodcock

Spotted Sandpiper


Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

Double-crested Cormorant

Turkey Vulture

Bald Eagle

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Hairy Woodpecker                                                                                                                         Red-bellied Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Great Crested Flycatcher

Eastern Kingbird

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Black-capped Chickadee

Tree Swallow

Gray Catbird

Brown Thrasher

Eastern Bluebird

American Robin

Cedar Waxwing

American Goldfinch

Chipping Sparrow                                                                                                                          Field Sparrow                                                                                                                                   Grasshopper Sparrow

Song Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow                                                                                                              White-throated sparrow

Eastern Meadowlark

Red-winged Blackbird

Common Yellowthroat

American Redstart                                                                                                                          Ovenbird

Northern Cardinal

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting

NCV thanks Greg Nobles for being a guest author on our blog. We look forward to learning more about the birds that call the site home over the seasons and appreciate the work that Nobles, Ed Ketterer and Bert Thomas have already contributed to this effort.

About the author: Greg Nobles is a local, avid, experienced birder. He is a historian and author, including John James Audubon: The Nature of the American Woodsman

Official press release: Thursday 27th June 2024


More than 100 people attended a special open house event Monday evening (June 24th) hosted by New Community Vision (NCV), the local non-profit formed to purchase the over 200 acres of land between Northport and Omena formerly known as Timber Shores, for conservation, restoration and attainable housing.


Standing under a tent adjacent to the property located off M22, NCV president John Sentell welcomed strategic partners: the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa (GTB), who would lead the restoration and stewardship of this property once it is acquired, and Suttons Bay-based non-profit Peninsula Housing, which is collaborating with NCV on the 24-acre attainable housing portion of the project.


Sentell said that NCV - after being set up only 18 months ago - continues to work towards acquiring what is “the last large piece of undeveloped property with high conservation value and shoreline on the bay in Leelanau.”


“Our New Community Vision includes conservation and restoration of the former campground to create a nature preserve with low-impact trails for all to enjoy,” he told those gathered.  “This is like a marathon – we’ve crested the hill, but we still have to run hard to cross the finish line”, said Sentell.  “But we can get it done.  Our current pledges of support, when matched with what we believe is a very promising opportunity to receive a substantial federal grant, sponsored by the Grand Traverse Band, suggests we are well within reach. What I can tell you tonight is that raising an additional $2.9 million will get this deal done. It’s realistic – it’s achievable.  Every single donation matters,” he said.


Naomi Louchouarn, River Restoration Project Manager for the GTB, told attendees that the opportunity for the tribe to partner with NCV is important on many levels. “The name for this land is Mashkiigaki, which means marsh lands, but it also means the ‘place of medicine’ because this is where, in times past, tribal members would find food and medicine and connect with the earth,” Louchouarn said. “To collaborate with NCV and everyone in the area is important for the ecological restoration of this place, but also for the restoration of the irreplaceable cultural and spiritual connections to the land as well.”


Larry Mawby, President of Peninsula Housing, the community land trust, explained that a 24-acre portion of the property has been designated for attainable housing because it has the lowest conservation value and is accessible from M22 and Camp Haven Road. Community consultation on the right mix and number of units to be built is part of the plan, said Mawby, but “step 1 is for NCV to buy the property and to do that they need your help. So, open your wallets, please!”  


Open house attendees walked on marked paths through the property to the lakeshore and were also able to find out more on the project from NCV’s board members.


Opportunities to tour the property with NCV board members and partners continue through mid-July, through free registration on NCV’s website under ‘Events’.


NCV will continue to announce more updates this summer.



By Meakalia Previch-liu on Wednesday, June 26, 2024 for the Leelanau Enterprise

New Community Vision (NCV), the local nonprofit organization raising funds to acquire the former Timber Shores campground property, began offering a number of hosted walks this month and will continue to do so through July.

According to NCVs website, each walk is free and will be led by NCV board members to highlight the important environmental and natural features of the former campground property. The walks, which require registration for a free ticket, will be kept to a group size of 10 people and will be about 1.5 hours in duration. The walking path will follow an approximately 1.5 mile, mostly flat loop trail.

The next tour will be on Saturday, June 29 and will be led by NCV board members John Sentell and Beth Verhey. Guest docent Larry Mawby, founder of Peninsula Housing will be accompanying NCV on the walk that is anticipated to be approximately two hours in duration. People will walk a side tangent to view the small upland parcel NCV has designated to be separated from the nature preserve, and to explore attainable housing options in collaboration with Peninsula Housing. The walks in the weeks ahead are scheduled for July 1, July 2, July 10, and July 13 with each day featuring different guests such as ancillary docent Ed Ketterer, a local, avid, experienced birder, Brett Fessell, restoration section leader, and Naomi Louchouarn with the Natural Resources Department of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

The property tours come as the group works to reach its summer fundraising goal of $5 million. NCV has been working since last summer to purchase the property with a mission to ultimately preserve and restore the 214-acre lakeshore property off M-22 in Leelanau Township. NCVs initial goal was to raise $5 million by the end of 2023, but has since secured an exclusive option agreement and extension with the property owner, giving the group more time to raise funds through the summer. NCV said the majority of the land is prime for conservation and environmental stewardship, and has plans to create a lakeshore nature preserve as well as attainable housing on a small upland section on the property.

For more information and to sign up for a guided walking tour, visit


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