Welcome to the "New" Michigan American Legion Wilwin at Cygnet Cove!
Let's welcome our soldiers home
In late 2009, Robert Considine, a successful businessman from Pellston, and originally from Rudyard, in the U.P. of Michigan, donated to the Michigan American Legion 600 acres of pristine wilderness, along with a historic lodge dating back to the lumbering industry in the early 1900’s. Also included was a newer 4-bedroom home, stable, garage and corn crib. The property was known as Wilwin, names taken from the early lumbermen of the time, William and Edwin Chesbourgh. The property was located 6 miles NW of the village of Trout Lake, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Incorporated in 2010 under the name Michigan American Legion Wilwin Lodge, Inc., most of the year was devoted to repairing buildings, cleaning the grounds, and getting the property ready for use. During this time Wilwin’s mission and vision statements were written. The statements have not changed over the years and remain our mission and vision today.
In late 2011, Mr. Considine erected a 40’ x 70’ conference center with full commercial kitchen and has been used by larger groups who gathered at the facility, including scouting groups, wedding groups, and family reunion groups.
By mid 2013, Graymont Mining Company began exploring the area for limestone. They struck a high quality limestone lode on the Wilwin property covering almost 400 of its 600 acres. It was evident that they were interested in purchasing the property, especially after they purchased adjoining property next door to our main gate and then made a settlement with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the National Forest Service on the mineral rights on 13000 adjoining acres. Hesitant at first, the Board of Directors held off selling the property to Graymont until Graymont purchased a replacement property for the American Legion at a site south of Custer, Mason County, Michigan, called Cygnet Cove by the previous owner. The property was almost twice the size of Wilwin (1183 acres compared to 600 acres). In addition, the property included a private 67 acre pristine lake (Lake Woodruff), a 4 bedroom home with 4 bathrooms that can accommodate 8-12 veterans, a care-takers home with attached work shed and large garage, and another garage with living quarter above to accommodate 4 veterans. The two-car garage is scheduled to be converted into a wholly handicapped apartment in the spring.
The decision to sell Wilwin to Graymont was based on the following observations:
1. Nearby blasting and heavy trucking noises were not conducive to our mission with PTSD and TBI veterans.
2. Location was closer to Michigan’s and the Midwest’s population centers where a higher number of veterans are concentrated.
3. The private lake would create more recreational activities for our veterans as it has a sand beach and sand bottom, a bathhouse and dock, canoes, and a pontoon boat to take our veterans fishing or relaxing on the lake.
4. Many recreational facilities were nearby to accommodate our veterans including rafting, kayaking, or fishing on the Pere Marquette River located a few miles north and the closeness of Lake Michigan for deep sea fishing. Ludington is located within 15 miles west of Wilwin at Cygnet Cove.
5. Vast amounts of land available for large groups of scouts for jamborees and camping.
6. Sandy land for easier and cheaper building. Wilwin’s land was rock (limestone) and construction of new buildings was very costly.
7. Graymont Mining was very accommodating in assuring that we would make a smooth transition from one facility to another.
Final transfer of the properties was made in December 22, 2015. Graymont Mining included in the agreement that we could continue using Wilwin North for two years. The board of directors voted at its January, 2016 meeting to rename the new facility “Wilwin at Cygnet Cove.” The board also agreed to open the new facility by Mid-May 2016 and use Wilwin North on a limited basis for the 2016 and 2017 year for scouting activities.
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