7 West Michigan Nature Preserves You Can Visit Year-Round
Recently, it was reported that 31,000 acres of land had been preserved in the Keweenaw Peninsula.
The section of land, at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, was sold to the conservancy group the Nature Conservancy of Michigan. The land is being preserved for both the local wildlife and for all nature enthusiasts who want to visit. You can read more here.
Of course, if you live in southern Michigan, getting up to the tip of the U.P. isn't always an easy task. But, don't fret. If you're a nature lover and want to experience wooded areas, lakes, streams, and more on protected land, we have plenty of options in West Michigan.
Here are at least seven nature preserves you can visit whenever your heart desires:
1. Asylum Lake Preserve
Starting in Kalamazoo, there's the Asylum Lake Preserve. Owned by Western Michigan University, this area of land is made up of 274 acres that are used for passive recreation. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed at all times. See the trail maps and learn more about the Asylum Lake Preserve here.
2. Woodland Park and Nature Preserve
Located in Battle Creek, this preserve is 145 acres and features five miles of trails. Throughout the park, you'll find seasonal wetlands and ponds, old-growth timber, grassy areas with wildflowers (in season), and plenty of wildlife. Apparently, the area also acts as a Bluebird habitat. Read more here.
3. Maas Family Nature Preserve
This preserve isn't huge but, it is unique. According to their website, the Maas Family Nature Preserve is home to a remnant oak-pine barrens ecosystem that supports the endangered Karner blue butterfly. Located in Rockford, the trail is only half a mile but, acts as a stopping point for those hiking the White Pine Trail. Learn more here.
4. DePersia South Highlands Nature Preserve
Sitting in Grand Haven, the DePersia South Highlands Nature Preserve is for the more adventurous hiker. There are no trails due to the potential for erosion. But, those who decide to brave the rugged, wooded dunes will be met with a breathtaking view of the nearby lakeshore. Read more here.
5. Kleinstuck Preserve
Back in Kalamazoo, the Kleinstuck Preserve is also owned by Western Michigan University. It's 48 acres and is very diverse. Throughout the preserve, you'll see swamps and marshlands, forests, and more that act as a home to a variety of wildlife. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash. See more here.
6. Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve
Located in Montague, this preserve offers a glimpse of what the shores of Lake Michigan used to look like before we humans developed the nearby land. It also protects the dune habitat along the lakeshore. There is a short trail, just over a mile, with a boardwalk that leads to an overlook of the area. Learn about parking and more here.
7. Robinson Woods Preserve
Sitting in Chikaming Township, the Robinson Woods Preserve is an 80-acre preserve consisting of mature trees, streams, and a wide variety of wildlife. As a bonus, the Flynn Woods Preserve is right across the street, according to their website. So, you can check out two in one day. Read more about the history of the Robinson Woods Preserve, its location, and more here.
The good news is, if you don't see a nature preserve listed that's conveniently close to you, there are a ton that I didn't include. A quick Google search should reveal the one that's closest to you.