Chesterton Tribune



Bird Sanctuary not-for-profit acquires 10-acre gift in Coffee Creek watershed

Back To Front Page



The PorterCo Conservation Trust (PCT)--the freshly minted not-for-profit which on April 8 took ownership of the Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary--has added a new holding to its portfolio: 10 acres in the Coffee Creek watershed.

On Wednesday, the PCT announced that Holladay Properties, which is associated with the development of the Ameriplex in Portage and other projects in the region, officially gifted that acreage to the trust on April 20.

The parcel is located in the Town of Chesterton, south of Indian Boundary Road, north of the Norfolk-Southern right-of-way, immediately east of the River Ave., Lindall Street, and East Michigan Ave. dead-ends, PCT Board Member Dick Maxey told the Chesterton Tribune.

PCT’s holdings now total nearly 60 acres: the 39 acres of the Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary, west of South 11th Street and directly opposite Westchester Intermediate School’s rear entrance; the 10 acres of the Emma Redding Wildlife Preserve on South Babcock Road; and these 10 acres, which PCT is calling the Coffee Creek Corridor.

Larry Mudd, a Chesterton resident and a Holladay Properties principal, originally approached the Porter County Parks Foundation (PCPF) early in 2016, to see whether that organization would be interested, as a 501(c)(3), in acquiring the property, Maxey said. The PCPF mulled the proposal, only to decline the gift, and there the matter stood until April 8, when the PCT was formally spun off as a separate not-for-profit to take ownership of the Sanctuary and assume responsibility for developing it.

Twelve days later, Holladay Properties--still interested in donating the 10 acres to a 501(c)(3)--duly transferred ownership of the Coffee Creek Corridor to the PCT.

At present, Maxey noted, there’s no easy way to access the property, but it will be open to the public as fish and wildlife habitat, once it’s been “cleaned up a little and made more accessible.” Among other possible passive uses for the Coffee Creek Corridor, he added: as a nature trail; as a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers certified wetland mitigation site; and--with its direct access to the Little Calumet River--as a paddling site.

For PCT Board Member Tim Cole, on the other hand, the 10 acres of the Coffee Creek Corridor could be just the beginning: the first piece of a jigsaw puzzle which, when completed, could provide an “unbroken water and walking trail” along Coffee Creek from East Morgan Ave. to Indian Boundary Road. Still needed: three additional parcels to make the puzzle complete.

Yet Cole is thinking even bigger than that: just look at a map and follow Coffee Creek as it flows from the east and south. “With some investment and volunteer work, Chesterton and all the public could have their own riverwalk--and with the generosity of some private owners--a full trail could be established from the Toll Road to Indian Boundary Road,” Cole said.

The vision is altogether feasible, inasmuch as much of the land adjacent to Coffee Creek is “already owned and managed by environmental groups,” Cole noted, while the owners of private property bordering Coffee Creek “could be approachable with the action of an acceptable conservation easement.”

“With some imagination this could be extended further north and along the Little Calumet River as far as U.S. Highway 20 and be beneficial to both towns, Porter and Chesterton,” Cole added.

All donations made on behalf of the Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary, the Emma Redding Wildlife Preserve, or the Coffee Creek Corridor should now be made to PorterCo Conservation Trust, P.O. Box 797, Chesterton, IN 46304.


Posted 4/27/2017





Search This Site:

Custom Search