The community’s newest preserve has finally opened its gates!

A panoramic shot of people leaving the ribbon-cutting ceremony, many of whom were anxious to take a guided hike of the new preserve.

After years of planning and preparation, and a frenzied last few weeks filled with fine-tuning, Portman Nature Preserve finally opened its gates to the public last Saturday, October 21. And after all the work that has been put in by volunteers and staff, it was pure joy to see the happy, expectant faces of the crowds of people who came to the Grand Opening celebration. Here at SWMLC, we are ecstatic about sharing this big, beautiful, healthy preserve with the community.

And it truly is the community’s preserve. We never could have taken on a project as large and complex as this one without the time, money, soul, and expertise of so many caring people.

THANK YOU!

As with all of our public preserves, Portman Nature Preserve will now be open every day from dawn to dusk . . . hope to see you out there!
The tables set for the thank you brunch for members of SWMLC's Blue Green and Oak Legacy Societies.
People gathered at the site of the future Mud Lake Overlook for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and acknowledgements.
SWMLC board member Jennifer Haywood led families on a Storybook Hike of "Meet Us on the Trail", which features her own delightful illustrations!
People gathered at the site of the future Mud Lake Overlook for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and acknowledgements.
People gathered at the site of the future Mud Lake Overlook for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and acknowledgements.
Bill McNulty, retired teacher and principal in the Mattawan Schools system, spoke about the importance of natural areas in school curriculum.
Cheryl Van Engen with current and former members of her 4th grade class at Mattawan Later Elementary School.
Jerry Portman (with a grandson), who formerly owned the property with his wife Julie, spoke movingly of his love of the land.
SWMLC's Stewardship Specialist, Mitch Lettow, gathers visitors before leading a guided hike through the big preserve.
An auspicious start to a perfect day . . . fall foliage lit by the early morning sun, reflected in the calm water of Mud Lake.
The day started with a thank you brunch for members of SWMLC's Blue Green and Oak Legacy Societies.
Julie Collard of Little Adventurers' Club, provided snacks and activities for kids.
Julie Collard of Little Adventurers' Club, provided snacks and activities for kids.
SWMLC's President and Executive Director, Pete Ter Louw, delivering remarks at the lakeside ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Lara Hamsher, Community Relations Advisor with Enbridge, speaking during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
5th grader Emma, spoke eloquently for current and former students in Cheryl Van Engen's 4th grade class at Mattawan Later Elementary School.
Those kids had nerves of steel, speaking before such a large group of adults!
Emma, one of Jerry and Julie Portman's grandkids, had the honor of cutting the "ribbon"!
The day started with a thank you brunch for members of SWMLC's Blue Green and Oak Legacy Societies.
People gathered at the site of the future Mud Lake Overlook for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and acknowledgements.
Julie Collard of Little Adventurers' Club, provided snacks and activities for kids.
Daria Hyde, Conservation Scientist with MNFI and expert on Mitchell's satyr butterflies.
Peg Kohring, Midwest Regional Director of the Conservation Fund, speaking at the dedication ceremony.
SWMLC's Conservation and Stewardship Direcotr, Nate Fuller, speaking for Scott Hicks, of US Fish & Wildlife Service, who was unable to attend.
Julie Portman who, with her husband Jerry, formerly owned the property that has become the preserve.
Ironically named, beautiful Mud Lake, protected forever.