The Non-Profit

As competition for limited City resources have increased over time, the viability of the park’s ski operations has been threatened.  Consistent with the spirit in which the park was developed and in response to changing times, Preserve Hickory was established as a 501.c.3 nonprofit in 2010 for the specific purpose of preserving the public park for affordable recreation for youth.

In 2011, the non-profit Preserve Hickory sponsored and published a pictorial history of Hickory Hills, Light the Night. The outpouring of stories and sentiment from the ski park were overwhelming, highlighting the heartfelt appreciation for Hickory’s legacy and tradition.

With increased public awareness and appreciation, Preserve Hickory began an organized effort to preserve the ski park and retain the affordability of skiing for youth despite increased costs and revenue shortfalls. From its inception, Preserve Hickory understood that a fresh perspective was needed to change the negative impression of some that Hickory was unworthy of continued municipal support.

Initially, Preserve Hickory’s focus was on preserving the ski hill.  It became clear, however, that a wider focus was necessary – one that encompassed the entire park and all of its users.  So in 2013, the non-profit championed a collaborative process culminating in a Master Plan.  A public/private partnership (Traverse City, Garfield Township, Preserve Hickory and Grand Traverse Ski Club) financed and led the two-year Master Plan process with significant public input. Approved by Traverse City and Garfield Township Joint Resolution in 2014, the plan proposes upgrading the 60-year old facilities yet maintains its rustic feel.

With a pledge of $1.5 million from the City’s Brown Bridge Trust Parks Improvement Fund, Preserve Hickory is leading the capital campaign to raise the required outside match and additional funds to implement the plan.