Historic Fishtown featured at planners annual meeting October 19, 2012 in Traverse City

Michigan Sea Grant Extension will lead a discussion on best practices for working waterfronts as Michigan Chapter of the American Planning Association look to Michigan’s historic Fishtown as example of a community protecting and enhancing their coast.

The community-led efforts to preserve one of the last historic commercial fishing shanty villages in the Great Lakes at Fishtown (Leland, Michigan) will be discussed during a featured field trip at the annual meeting of the American Planning Association, Michigan Chapter, held October 17-19, 2012 in Traverse City. Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator, Mark Breederland (who has worked with Fishtown since 2006 and serves on the site committee for the Fishtown Preservation Society) and NOAA Coastal Management Fellow, Liz Durfee, will lead a working waterfronts discussion. Topics will include a variety of issues relating to loss of working waterfronts and best practices communities can implement to protect and enhance their coastal community’s environmental and economic development, using Fishtown as a model.  Amanda Holmes, PhD, Executive Director of the Fishtown Preservation Society will detail the efforts on operational trap-net commercial fishing for whitefish, the Historic Site and Interpretive plans recently developed, fundraising, and management challenges.

Fishtown is one of the few surviving Great Lakes commercial and sport fishing villages. It is comprised of a community of fishermen, year-round residents, summer residents, merchants, artists and tourists who embrace their history and natural environment to sustain an active, authentic, historic, and accessible village. The Fishtown Preservation Society’s purpose is to sustain Fishtown, to provide visitors with access to the authentic, active commercial and sports fishing village and offer visitor experiences that inspire a sense of community, responsibility and stewardship.

Participants on the bus tour will take a step back in time to the heart of a commercial fishing village originating in the 1870’s, visit the authentic, weathered fishing shanties, smokehouses, overhanging docks, fish tugs and charter boats located along the Leland River mouth at Lake Michigan and learn about the planning and zoning efforts and challenges to preserve the historical integrity of Fishtown and ensure that it continues as a publicly accessible and authentic connection to local and regional history, Great Lakes commercial fishing, and maritime traditions and experiences.

For more information, please contact Mark Breederland, Michigan Sea Grant Extension in Northwest Michigan at 231-922-4628 or Liz Durfee, NOAA Coastal Management Fellow at 231-922-4621.

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