From Jon's solo efforts that began eight years ago, to Betsy taking notice of his work and connecting him with Chris, to the present day, RiverWood Council has evolved to number seven active members and a host of dedicated supporters and volunteers.
If we have a single point of origin, it is probably the Tri-Community Trail Master Plan that Jon introduced in 2020. This set of maps and designs quickly became a trusted community resource based on its strategic view of the opportunities and challenges facing decison-makers involved in public and private land use issues.
The Beach to Bridge concept, introduced in August 2021, went on to lay out the potential for combining a subset of individual projects and properties within the Trail Master Plan to make a continuous path from New Richmond Bridge to the Saugatuck Dunes State Park lakeshore.
These initiatives are central for RiverWood Council, but they don't represent the full scope of our interests. While Beach to Bridge is centered in Saugatuck Township, it extends into Laketown and Manlius townships as well. Moreover, our work has already led to affiliations with kindred organizations throughout southwest Michigan.
With this in mind, after operating informally as the Tri-Community Trail Master Plan Group, we have adopted RiverWood Council as our identity. Council because we work as a collective to advise and consult with numerous organizations in order to augment their own conservation efforts. River for our natural identity rooted in the Kalamazoo watershed. Wood for the trees and, by extension, all the interdependent life forms that subsist in the earth, air and water around them.