KLT exceeds Hungarian Falls fundraising goal

TAMARACK CITY – The Keweenaw Land Trust’s effort to raise money to protect part of the Hungarian Falls was a rousing success.

A fundraising drive to purchase a 10-acre parcel on the upper portion of the falls raised more than $50,000 by April 30, above the goal of $40,000.

“That’s good, because our total project need is more like $70,000 or $80,000 over the next five to 10 years,” said project specialist Pat Toczydlowski.

If the KLT could get 100 new members by the end of the drive, it stood to get an additional $10,000 from a group of donors. The KLT easily surpassed that threshold too, getting 140 members.

The $50,000 was spread across 300 donors, which Toczydlowski called “pretty remarkable.”

“We’ve been so buoyed up by the outpouring of support for the project, not just in terms of dollars, but people encouraging us,” she said. “We’re just pleased to be able to be the vehicle for the community to protect something that they really value.”

The parcel, located near Tamarack City, includes the upstream portion of the Hungarian Falls, a historic dam and woodland trails that connect to state land containing the bigger portion of the falls.

The land is now owned by the Torch Lake Area Fire Protection Authority, which formerly used the water behind the dam for fire protection. The Authority had put the property on the market in December. The KLT made contact with Torch Lake Township and the realtor. The Authority then pulled the listing, giving the KLT an opportunity to put an offer together.

Now that the fundraising goals set by the KLT board have been met, the organization is starting the paperwork on the property transfer.

Many people have agreed to volunteer at the site, Toczydlowski said. That will help with the early goals for the site, which include a site cleanup, the installation of a kiosk and picnic tables and designating site stewards to get word out this summer.

“We’ll be looking to start developing a management plan for the property,” Toczydlowski said. “We’ll be reaching out to the community for input on a management plan.”