Hike Our Preserves (HOP!) is a new program that encourages kids to get fit while having fun outdoors.

Click to see the gallery of kids and grownups who have sent us a selfie after hiking a preserve.

Here’s how it works:

Get a walking stick.
Walking sticks are available for $5 each at Bookbug and the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy office.

Take a hike!
Explore the trails at each of these popular public SWMLC preserves:

1. Black River Preserve

2. Bow in the Clouds Preserve

3. Chipman Preserve

4. Pilgrim Haven Natural Area

5. Portman Nature Preserve (opening in October 2017)

6. Spirit Springs Sanctuary

7. Wolf Tree Nature Trails.

Send us a selfie from the preserve.
Show us what a great time you’ve had by taking a photo at the end of your hike and emailing it to us at conserveland@swmlc.org or posting it to Instagram by using the hashtag #swmlc and including the name of the preserve in the caption. In doing so, you give us permission to share your photo on our website, Facebook page, or newsletter.
Please note that we made a change to the hashtag from #swmlc-hop to just #swmlc.

Get a medallion.
We will send you a special medallion to put on your walking stick for each preserve that you finish.

Get a giftcard.
Walk the trails at all seven of these preserves and you will receive a $15 giftcard to Bookbug!

Get fit while having fun outdoors!
The added benefit? You’re stronger and healthier! And now that you know the trails, share them with your friends!

Map to HOP! preserves


Hoppers, please note that because our staff is small and our service area covers nine counties, we are unable to maintain public restrooms at our preserves. Please be sure to take care of “things” before you begin your hike for the comfort and safety of you and your kids!

Please remember that Portman Nature Preserve won’t be open to the public until its Grand Opening on Saturday, October 21.

So take your time, stop and smell the flowers, look at cool bugs, listen to the birds, run down the hills, and enjoy being out in nature.

SWMLC staff were on hand for the kickoff event at Wolf Tree Nature Trails, but the program is meant to be self-directed, so we don’t plan on having any more “official” hiking events. Instead, we encourage you and your kids to visit our preserves on your own and hike the trails at your own pace. You can also meet up with the Little Adventurers Club and walk with them during one of our Tike Hikes, as these often take place at a HOP! preserve. Keep an eye on our website for upcoming Tike Hikes (next one is on Sunday, September 10, at Portman Nature Preserve. Details are here.)

Welcome to the HOP Selfie Gallery of Intrepid Hikers

Just a sampling of the more than 100 selfies we’ve received so far. Please keep ’em comin’!

You guys totally rock!


Brought to you by SWMLC in partnership with Bookbug & local health practitioners.

An independent book store for all ages.
3019 Oakland Dr., Kalamazoo, MI 49008
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