The Future Portman Nature Preserve
Imagine a public nature preserve . . .
that is open to everyone . . .
from dawn to dusk
with no admission fee.
A public preserve that provides protected habitat . . .
Imagine an outdoor classroom for area students . . .
and a natural laboratory for local researchers.
A natural space for the community . . .
where people can exercise
With your help . . .
this will become the Portman Nature Preserve.
Please consider making a gift today to help us raise the last
$75,000 $50,000 and help to make the Portman Nature Preserve a reality.
This is SWMLC’s largest and most ambitious project to date. Ultimately, we envision a 188-acre nature preserve that protects and provides habitat for an incredible number of southwest Michigan’s rarest species, serves as an outdoor classroom for area students and a natural laboratory for local researchers, offers a natural space for the community to explore, exercise, discover, gather . . . to connect with nature and with each other.
188 acres of rolling hills, oak forests, meandering creeks, countless springs, and three lakes . . .
for you and your family to explore and love.
Over 200 individual donors and friends of SWMLC successfully met The Carls Foundation’s $75,000 matching grant challenge issued in late autumn of 2016, effectively raising $150,000 of the last $225,000 needed for the acquisition, stewardship and public use infrastructure for the Portman Nature Preserve.
Thanks to The Carls Foundation and these generous donors, SWMLC just needs to raise the last
$75,000 $50,000 to complete the conservation of this exceptional natural area.
See and hear the passion behind this project.
Directions to Portman Nature Preserve
(click on the map for a printable PDF version)
• From I-94 take the Mattawan Exit (# 66) and head north (right) from the traffic circle onto Main Street. Head north for 1 mile to reach Red Arrow Highway, then turn left (west).
• Go west for 1.5 miles, then turn right (north) onto 27th Street (look for Owsiany Farm Stand on the corner).
• Continue traveling north for 0.75 mile, then turn left (west) onto 49th Avenue.
• Go about 0.75 mile to the preserve entrance on the right/north side of the road (just west of the old white farm house at #28534).
Please remember that the Portman Nature Preserve is not yet open to the public, except during special events or by invitation — so it will not be open on a daily basis during the summer. We anticipate a grand opening in the fall. Thank you for your cooperation!
More about this wonderful property and this exciting public project . . .
Imagine a place where clear, cool water bubbles up from the ground, turtles of all shapes and sizes lumber slowly across the landscape, amazing native plants seldom seen in this region almost glow with vibrancy, the air is filled with a medley of birdsong, and a group of rare butterflies flutters its way back from extinction.
Located near Mattawan, just minutes from Kalamazoo and Paw Paw, the Portman property boasts 188 acres of high-quality prairie fen, wetland, savanna and woodland habitats, and is blessed with water from 3 lakes, a creek, and hundreds of springs. It is home to an astounding number of rare, threatened, and endangered plant and animal species, including all the species of turtles found in southwest Michigan! As a result of its rich biodiversity, this property has been identified by the conservation community as a priority for conservation for over 10 years.
In addition to its rare habitats and species, the Portman property forms part of the headwaters of the Paw Paw River, making it essential to maintaining clean, abundant water for the Paw Paw River watershed, the broader region, and Lake Michigan.
In an epic collaboration to save some of southwest Michigan’s rarest species and habitats, SWMLC partnered with a number of local, state, and federal organizations to protect this incredibly special piece of property. With assistance from Gerald and Julie Portman, The Conservation Fund, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership, the U.S. Forest Service, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Carls Foundation and many private donors, SWMLC has raised approximately 98% of the entire $2.2 million needed to complete this project.
Indeed, over 200 individual donors and friends of SWMLC successfully met The Carls Foundation’s $75,000 matching grant challenge issued in late autumn of 2016, effectively raising $150,000 of the last $225,000 needed for the acquisition, stewardship and public use infrastructure for the Portman Nature Preserve. Thanks to The Carls Foundation and these generous donors, SWMLC just needs to raise the last $50,000 to complete the conservation of this exceptional natural area.
But, we need your help to do it.
We are excited to be so close to finally protecting this spectacular and important piece of property. With your help, the Portman property will become a SWMLC nature preserve where children, adults, and families can recreate, reflect, and grow in their knowledge and love of the natural world. And if we’re able to raise the final $75,000 to complete the public access infrastructure to build a safe parking area and entry trail system, we will hold a Saturday “Sneak Peek” event in late Spring for the public to visit the new Portman Nature Preserve for the first time.