Some of the oldest and most beautiful trees in Weesaw Township ‘s recently expanded park have been marked for removal, a possibility that has many of us concerned. The Township Board has already obtained quotes from two lumber companies. But the Board has now agreed to an open meeting in April to hear comments from residents.
The Board maintains that the property along Weechick Road needs to be cleared for a planned expansion of the cemetery. We believe it is crucial that we save as many mature trees as possible to keep our lands as natural as can be.
A couple of years ago, Friends of New Troy volunteers worked with members of the Township Board to develop the Tirrell Trail. We believe we can work together again, to come to an agreement that meets the needs of the cemetery while preserving these woods that form such a valuable part of our heritage.
In 2017, Weesaw Township purchased 28 acres of woods and the Morley/Ballengee Marsh from Nancy Asselin for the purpose of expanding the park and cemetery. Prior to the years of Asselin’s ownership, the marsh was skirted by a foot path that led from the present-day Community Center to the cemetery. Along the way, the path crossed two crumbling dams before following a bluff that offered views of the marsh and the old mill.
In the 1970s, Asselin closed the trail to walkers but portions of it still exist. Hike it today and you may be surprised by its rustic charm, expansive views and majestic trees. These trees, some as large as two-feet in diameter have survived the axe until now.
A proposed nature trail would pass through the newly acquired land, winding between these ancient trees before crossing the Morley/Ballengee Marsh and following the river to the Mill Road Park. Creating the trail on the bluff would be somewhat easy, but crossing the marsh would be more difficult, presenting issues of funding for a bridge and board walk. Therefore, the trail is planned to be built in two stages, with the bridge and boardwalk tackled in stage two.
New Troy is the most populated community in Weesaw Township, and has the potential to benefit from its fortunate location on this picturesque bend of the Galien River. Our park in its natural state is a gem. With careful management and development that respects the value of its natural features, it could become one of the most beautiful and cherished parks in Berrien County.
I imagine Edward Warren faced a similar dilemma in 1879. Warren used his wealth to purchase 150 acres of virgin forest, creating the park we know today as Warren Woods. Now, we residents of Weesaw Township need to ask ourselves: Do we want logging? Or do we want 10 preserve the abundance of nature that we already have?
We will keep you updated as to the date of the open meeting. Please plan now to come and make your voice heard.
Terry and Lorraine Hanover