The Logerquists had always envisioned a wilderness preserve on the property. In 1980 Clem Heeden walked the 160 acres with the Logerquist brothers. His intention was planning a condominium development.
Clem had the foresight to set aside a common area of roughly 120 acres in the development plan. The purchase was made from the Logerquists and the agreement included a Wilderness Preserve restriction. When the Rushes development was started, Clem immediately hired the Ridges Sanctuary to lay out trails, develop a trail guide, and interpretive trail guide posts. The trails utilized some old logging roads. The Wilderness Preserve became a major selling point for the new Rushes development.
In the fall of 1992 the Rushes Association Board concluded that a separate not-for-profit organization should be formed. The Rushes Wilderness Foundation was incorporated October 30, 1992. The Association advanced the Foundation enough money to hire an attorney, etc. The IRS granted the Foundation not-for-profit status on June 4, 1997.