CLCF History

Our History

Founded in 1974, the Cedar Lakes Conservation Foundation (CLCF) is one of the oldest land trusts in Wisconsin. Originally organized and led by Geoff Maclay, CLCF recognized the need to protect a vanishing landscape that development would have changed irreparably.

Our work focuses on the ecosystem health of Wisconsin’s Cedar Lakes watershed, made up of 6 lakes: Gilbert, Big Cedar, Little Cedar, Lucas, Silver and Quaas Lake. Much of this area composes the headwaters of Cedar Creek, which flows southeast joining the Milwaukee River in Cedarburg and eventually to Lake Michigan.

Since our founding, CLCF has protected over 60 properties totaling more than 2,400 acres. We’ve employed such measures as fee simple purchase, conservation easements and deed restrictions to protect this land in perpetuity.

CLCF was also instrumental in the forming of Gathering Waters, Wisconsin’s alliance for land trusts. Both the state and federal DNR have recognized the significant positive impact that CLCF has had on water quality.

Our Vision

Since 1974, our vision has been to sustain the abundant natural beauty, clean water, and biodiversity of th eCedar Lakes region for generations to come.

At the heart of our vision is a vital land trust — one that is an important resource and works hand-in-hand with the community as well as with local, regional, and national conservation partners to protect and care for the natural aspects of our region. We envision:

  • Diverse natural ecosystems
  • Sustainable working farms
  • Healthy watersheds
  • Habitat for recreational and educational opportunities
  • Scenic vistas

Our Mission

“To conserve the natural environment of the cedar lakes region”

In the Articles of Incorporation of CLCF, Inc. dated June 10, 1974, Article II: Purposes and Powers states:
(A) Said corporation is organized exclusively for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes, and, more specifically within these purposes:

  1. To preserve and enhance the present character of the Cedar Lakes, Wisconsin area in respect to its natural beauty, its wild plants and animal life, its geological and geographical formations of scientific interest, and its other scientific and educational potential.
  2. To facilitate serious study and research in ecology and other natural sciences as they pertain to the Cedar Lakes area.
  3. To facilitate the general public’s enjoyment and study of wild plant and animal life in their natural surroundings and of other natural phenomena as found in the Cedar Lakes area.
  4. To acquire, develop and maintain lands in the Cedar Lakes area to be used for carrying out the foregoing purposes.


The CLCF core values encompass:

  • Respect for the environment
  • Integrity
  • Collaboration
  • Fiscal responsibility
  • Passion for our mission


We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive.

aldo leopold | a sand county almanac

Learn about the Land Ethic >