What has been a life long dream, take on the family business called Crouch’s Treasure Lake , is slowly happening. My grandparents, Everett Lee and Mary Carol Crouch, started this project/small business in a rural area in 1983 when I was just three years old. It was a very successful pay fishing lake and bar at one time. After years of ups and downs with the property, a development plan was created over the years as my grandparents age crept higher and eventually became ancestors. The next generation owns it now but we as a collective, all with different roles and participation, steward the business and land in varying fashions.
For over 17 years, I have been stewarding the forests through clearing campsites , working with invasives, and doing wildlife stand improvements, which builds of my ecology degree officially titled Fish and Wildlife Management. Essentially I am working through the edge principle to bring more niches to both the wildlife and also to human yields just as I was taught in my original degree and in my permaculture career since 2005.
The main work on the property since the dams rebuilding in 2001, has been managing our vast timber resource and trying to bring access and recreation possibilities. It has been mostly the managing of zone 3/4 areas to bring more of a broad-acre, native food forest –rich with patches of Paw Paw (Asimina triloba) and Spicebush in the understory and Oaks, Hickories and Black Walnuts in the overstory.
I am constantly augmenting the forest in my short stints there each year but the forests change of species dynamics is quite obvious with this extended period of feedback. I now have moved back full time to step into a new position within my permaculture dcareer (September 2017). We are poised to expand into other non timber forest products while continuing to improve forest health. I also have added lots of edge to the lake by felling trees on the lakeside and also cutting invasives and making them into piles for fish habitat structures. These two techniques are really important for accelerating succession of the lake ecosystem.
Future plans include developing the property with an integrated set of businesses that leverage the natural capitol, take advantage of the proximity to the city and wilds, and embodies the ethics of permaculture within the local movement. Overall it is a place to heal the land and water and learn whilst also simply being. It creates homes for domesticated and wild animals, it allows people to paddle the lake waters and view the waterfall, it gives a temporary home for tourists, and it allows us to have a place of celebration. Foods will be produced to contribute to the local foods movement and serve as an educational outlet for stewarding these amazing forest and field resources within this unique climate and ecosystem. It starts with a vision!
Existing Permaculture Elements include:
The property is a diverse, sized at 66 acres, with a 12 acre lake being the centerpiece. It sits in the most biodiverse region in the whole temperate world and offers heaps of ecological lessons to be learned. Furthermore, less than 10 acres are cleared but this open space does give us recreational opportunities like event hosting including permaculture based festivals (Pollination Festival). We built a stage in 2014, with many of the materials coming from the land, and did upgrades to infrastructure to establish this facet of interacting with the land. The land does have several existing businesses; bar, camping, and pay fishing. The lake acts as a magnet for the wildlife and gives us a great viewing opportunity, which we love to share with others. We are committed to enhancing the forest, which goes hand in hand with broad acre food forest for both wildlife and humans!