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 region, made up of Gilbert, Big Cedar, Little Cedar, Lucas, Silver and Quaas Lakes. Much of this area composes the headwaters of Cedar Creek, which flows southeast joining the Milwaukee River in Cedarburg and which eventually joins Lake Michigan.

Since our founding, CLCF has helped to protected over 60 properties totaling over 2,500 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 Mission

CLCF’s mission is to conserve the natural environment of the Cedar Lakes region.

Our Vision

Since 1974, our vision has been to sustain the abundant natural beauty, clean water, and biodiversity of the Cedar 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


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 >