Philip J. Braun Nature Preserve
continued from main page
"Because of its location, size, river frontage and incredible natural beauty, this is a really special place," says Ty Ratliff, Conservancy land protection specialist. "People of all ages have come to the river at the road crossing here for years. Now this location and much of the land surrounding the river to the southwest will be open and accessible to the public as a permanent nature preserve."
The Maple River is designated and regulated as a trout stream, and fish surveys have been conducted on the river since the 1950s. From 1979-1986, the Department of Natural Resources stocked the river with both brook and brown trout and it remains a popular fishing destination today.
Northern Michigan's beautiful woods and waters have shaped the lives and loves of so many people. As with most of his previous land projects, Woollam felt that protecting this particular land was fitting to memorialize someone special to him and his family, Phil Braun. John had become good friends with Phil through his in-laws, Robert and Vivian VanCampen, and for many years had been looking for a piece of land on the Maple River to protect and dedicate in Braun's honor. "Phil was just a person who loved life and the outdoors," Woollam says. In 1928, Phil Braun Sr. taught his 8-year-old son Philip how to fly fish on the Maple River. "Whether it was fly fishing, writing, photography or gathering with friends, Phil Braun was a delight to be around," Woollam says. "Years ago, Phil purchased an old horse trailer and converted it into a dark room. Phil so loved photography that he was outdoors with his son taking photos just a few months before he passed away. He was generous and kind - not complex - extremely honest, and successful in his endeavors. It seems fitting to name a piece of land that is so full of life and beauty after such an individual."
The Conservancy commends Woollam for all of the effort he put into ensuring that the preserve was protected and formed. "It wasn't a simple process and lasted for several years," Ratliff explains.
On May 12, Ratliff and LTC board member Mark Paddock led a Riverine Mammals field trip at the Braun Preserve. While the trip was going on, several people showed up to look for morels. A handful of boys arrived at the road crossing with fishing poles in hand. "This preserve epitomizes so much of what LTC hopes to accomplish for northern Michigan communities," Ratliff adds.
A new parking area was created at the preserve last month with a short river access trail. For more information on this project, please call the office at 231.347.0991.