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Pelizzari Natural Area now has 120 new white pine trees, thanks to Old Mission Peninsula resident Leonard Chown.

Chown, an eighth grade student and a Boy Scout with Troop 34, arranged all the details, including coordinating with the Peninsula Township Park Commission, the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, and the residents near Pelizzari Natural Area. Some thirty volunteers worked for about four hours on Sunday, April 29, to plant 120 two- to three-foot tall white pine trees.

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The project helped to screen the property line and prevent trespassing on John Pelizzari’s property in what is known as the middle meadow, as well as to screen the Erickson family’s property in the north wing.

Prior to the planting, the lack of screening impacted the privacy of these adjoining property owners and also impacted the sense of wildness and beauty experienced by visitors to the park, noted Chown in his presentation to the Park Commission.

Additionally, the new trees help to diversify the trail experience by providing shade and wind protection on what is otherwise a completely open portion of the trail in the north wing.

The project also included installation of five cedar Bluebird houses, donated by Chown’s grandfather. Chown worked with Conservancy staff Angie Lucas, who has expertise in bird habitat improvement projects.

“I am proud to say that this project builds on park improvements made by both of my brothers [William and Martin Chown] and also by Zach Gerber, all Scouts in Troop 34,” said Chown, adding that there will continue to be Eagle Scout project opportunities in the park in the future.

The Park Commission helped to fund the project, which included the cost of the trees from Cold Stream Farm, compost from Harbor View Farm, and hardware to install the Bluebird poles and attach the houses. Total cost of the project was $603.50.

Park Commissioner Mike Skurski noted that the project was well thought out, well researched and much needed, and he praised Chown for an excellent presentation to the Park Commission.

Dave Murphy, lead volunteer on the project, thanked Chown for his terrific work, adding that many folks out walking that day mentioned that the trees are a beautiful addition, enhancing a park they already love.

Murphy said that Chown brought a great group of people together, coordinated with neighbors, organized a lot of details, and put an imprint on the park with the addition of so many trees.


Photo of the Day: Oct. 11, 2016 – Marley the Dog at Pelizzari Natural Area


  1. We are out hiking the day the trees were planted and thanked several of the volunteers for their time and citizenship. It’s great to see them recognized in the Gazettee!


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