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Montague – Visitors of a public nature preserve in western Michigan can enjoy more Lake Michigan frontage as the result of a nearly $2 million project.

The Land Conservancy of West Michigan has announced the added 17 acres of Lake Michigan sand dunes to its Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve near Montague, the Muskegon Chronicle reported .

More than 100 private donors and grants helped fund the expansion, which more than doubles the original 14-acre preserve. The area is home to the endangered Pitcher’s thistle plant and is visited by the piping plovers, which are endangered shorebirds.

The new land was previously private property that was on sale for the past two years. An anonymous donor “with a generous gift and a passion to add this piece of property to the preserve” later sparked a $1.95 million campaign, according to the conservancy’s news release.

The original preserve acres were also acquired through a similar fundraising campaign in 2012. The campaign raised about $1.75 million to purchase and establish the acreage.

An existing dune trail will be extended in the upcoming months to connect the new parcel and create a lookout over Great Lakes marshland.

A public hike and dedication will be held May 19.

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