SWMLC Preserves at a Glance
♦ This page offers brief descriptions of both our public and limited access preserves. Want to know more? Click on the Read More links to open each preserve’s full post.
♦ Please click here to read our short list of preserve Do’s and Don’ts.
♦ Want to see all of the preserves that are best for birding, cross-country skiing, trail-running, or anything else? Click on the activities button for a sort-able list!

PUBLIC PRESERVES

No admission fee and open to everyone from dawn to dusk!

Black River Preserve, Van Buren Co.

details & maps

Access: open to the public
Acquisition:
2011
Acres: 121
County: Van Buren
Township: Geneva
Parking: gravel lot
Trails: easy-to-difficult hiking trails featuring several points of interest, one mile of frontage along the Black River, and another combined mile of frontage on three tributaries streams.


Bow in the Clouds Preserve, Kalamazoo Co.

details & maps

Access: open to the public
Acquisition:
donated by the Sisters of St. Joseph, 2007
Acres:
60
County:
Kalamazoo
Township:
Kalamazoo
Parking:
gravel lot
Trails: One mile of moderate trails and boardwalk, from the new parking area through wetland and forest. Experience a little wilderness within the city limits of Kalamazoo!


Carter Lake Preserve, Barry Co.

details & maps

Access: open to the public
Acquisition:
donated by Tom and Lisa Groos, 2000
Acres:
56.9
County:
Barry
Township:
Hastings
Parking:
roadside
Trails: 1.5 miles of moderate to difficult blazed trails in wetland and upland habitats.
PLEASE BE ADVISED: The trails at Carter Lake Preserve are very rustic. The trail through the wetland is often flooded – especially in the spring or during rainy weather – and surfaces may be very slippery. High rubber or waterproof boots are recommended. Upland trails are basic and unmarked.


Chipman Preserve, Kalamazoo Co.

details & maps

Access:
open to the public
Acquisition:
182-acre donation by John and Patricia Chipman, 2003, additional 46 acres purchased by SWMLC, 2004
Acres:
228
County:
Kalamazoo
Township:
Comstock
Parking:
gravel lot
Trails: Six miles of moderate trails through rolling savanna, forest, and grassland habitat. Popular for trail-running and cross-country skiing.


Coon Hollow Preserve, St. Joseph Co.

details & maps

Access: open to the public
Acquisition:
2007 through a donation from the Fabius Township Citizens Coalition; two parcels subsequently added
Acres: 9
County:
St. Joseph
Township: Fabius
Parking: gravel lot
Trails: 300-foot walk along the edge of a scenic wetland to a short observation boardwalk.


Gertrude McPharlin Bauer Nature Sanctuary, Barry Co.

details & maps

Access: open to the public
Acquisition:
donated by Angell Bauer Trust, 2004
Acres:
20
County:
Barry
Township: Castleton
Parking: roadside
Trails: 1 1/2 miles of easy-to-difficult trails through forest to river valley overlook. A steep footpath leads down into the floodplain.


Hickory Creek Preserve, Berrien Co.

details & maps

Access: open to the public
Acquisition:
Bargain sale by George Hanus, 2001
Acres:
32
County:
Berrien
Township: St. Joseph Charter
Parking:
park in hardware store lot
Trails: 2/3 mile of easy trail along old railroad bed, with side trails into forest; links to trail leading to Lake Michigan.


Hidden Marsh Sanctuary, St. Joseph Co.

details & maps

Access:
open to the public
Acquisition: Donated by the Wong family, 1998
Acres: 38
County: St. Joseph
Township:
City of Three Rivers
Parking: gravel lot
Trails: 2/3 mile of easy, forested trails along the banks of Portage River and Hoffman Pond.



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Hidden Pond Preserve, Barry Co.

details & maps

Access:
open to the public
Acquisition:
2010
Acres:
67
County: Barry
Township:
Hope
Parking: gravel lot
Trails: Half-mile of moderate trails through grassland and forest edges, over a stream to a hilltop pond.


Jeptha Lake Fen, Van Buren Co.

details & maps

Access: open to the public
Acquisition:
1996
Acres:
49
County:
Van Buren
Township: Columbia
Parking: park near gate
Trails: One mile of easy trails and boardwalk through grassland, forest edge, and wetlands to lake.


Kesling Nature Preserve, Berrien Co.

details & maps

Access: open to the public
Acquisition:
Donated by Dr. Peter Kesling & Family, 2004
Acres:
52
County:
Berrien
Township: Three Oaks
Parking:
Trails: A popular preserve for bird watching, Kesling has 1.25 miles of easy, forested trails along the banks of the Galien River.


Pilgrim Haven Natural Area, Van Buren Co.

details & maps

Access:
open
Acquisition: Pilgrim Haven Natural Area was acquired by Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy in December 2011 through a bequest from the estate of Suzanne Upjohn DeLano Parish. The site is 27 acres, including a stretch of Dyckman Creek, and over 750 linear feet of beach along Lake Michigan. The property was utilized as a camp for over 70 years, where it eventually was named Pilgrim Haven, before it was sold to Mrs. Parish in 1985, who purchased the property to keep it from being intensively developed. As such, her gift was premised upon Pilgrim Haven remaining as open space to be shared with the greater South Haven community.
Acres: 26.5
County: Van Buren
Township: South Haven
Parking: gravel lot
Trails: One-third mile of easy trail through woods and meadows that leads to Lake Michigan overlooks and barrier-free paved access to the beach.


Portman Nature Preserve, Van Buren Co.

details & maps

Access:
open to the public
Acquisition: Purchased with assistance from Enbridge Energy, in Partnership with US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Conservation Fund, US Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program, USDA Forest Service Community Forest Program, The Carls Foundation, The Burdick Thorne Foundation, The H.P. and Genevieve Connable Fund, Nancy Malcomson Connable Fund, Gerald and Julie Portman, 2017
Acres:
189 acres
County: Van Buren
Township:
Almena & Antwerp
Parking: gravel lot
Trails: Featuring signed, scenic, easy-to-moderate hiking trails that cross a natural causeway between two lakes, gently climb through upland forest, then gently descend to a boardwalk that offers interesting views into a fen wetland.


Spirit Springs Sanctuary, Cass Co.

details & maps

Access:
open to the public
Acquisition: Purchased with North American Wetland Conservation Act grant, 2010
Acres:
113 acres
County: Cass
Township:
Marcellus
Parking: gravel lot
Trails: 2.25 miles of moderate trails through forest with views of ponds and wetlands.


Topinabee Lake Preserve, Berrien Co.

details & maps

Access: open
Acquisition: Donated, 1995
Acres: 71
County: Berrien
Township:
Bertrand
Parking: roadside
Trails: Popular for bird watching, a short walk takes one to a viewing platform that overlooks a shallow lake.


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Wau-Ke-Na, William Erby Smith Preserve, Allegan Co.

details & maps

Access:
open to the public
Acquisition: Bequested, 2005
Acres: 385
County: Allegan
Township:
Ganges
Parking: gravel lot
Trails: Two separate tracts, with 3 miles of mowed walking trails through forest and grassland to Lake Michigan.


Winterberry Woods, Van Buren Co.

details & maps

Access:
open to the public
Acquisition: Donation by Sue Joyce, 2002
Acres: 15
County: Van Buren
Township:
Covert
Parking: roadside
Trails: 500-foot, easy trail leads through forest to pond.


Wolf Tree Nature Trails, Kalamazoo Co.

details & maps

Access:
open to the public
Acquisition: 2011
Acres: 69
County:
Kalamazoo
Township: Oshtemo
Parking: gravel lot
Trails: Two 3/4 mile loops of moderate trails wind through forest and meadow, affording scenic views.


Woodlawn Preserve, Barry/Kalamazoo Co.

details & maps

Access: open to the public
Acquisition: Donated by Katherine Miller, 2007
Acres: 12.2
County: Barry/Kalamazoo
Township: 
Barry/Ross
Parking: roadside
Trails: none, but visitors are welcome to walk through Woodlawn Preserve’s open fields.


Lillian Anderson Arboretum Conservation Easement

Conservation easement (CE) properties are rarely open to the public because CEs are on private land. The 31-acre Lillian Anderson Arboretum Conservation Easement property, owned by Kalamazoo College, is an exception. The entire arboretum encompasses 131 acres, and is open to the public. Click here for more information about the Arboretum.

LIMITED ACCESS PRESERVES

These preserves may only be visited by appointment or special invitation as they contain especially sensitive habitat or have accessibility challenges in reaching them.

Bakertown Fen, Berrien Co.


Access status:
 limited
Acquisition: 2014
Acres: 83
County: Berrien
Township: Buchanan
Read Details

Christiana Lake, Cass Co.


Access:
limited
Acquisition: 2014
Acres: 72
County: Cass
Township: Ontwa
Read Details ­

Coldwater Fen, Branch Co.


Access
: limited
Acquisition: Purchased with USFWS grant, 2008
Acres: 14.60
County: Branch
Township: Kinderhook
Read Details­

Consumer's Power Prairie, Kalamazoo Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donated, 1994
Acres: 13.10
County: Kalamazoo
Township: Alamo
Read Details ­

Cook Lake Fen, Cass Co.


Access:
limited
Acquisition: 2001
Acres: 11.70
County: Cass
Township: Wayne
Read Details

Corey Lake Preserve, St. Joseph Co.


Access:
limited
Acquisition:
2014
Acres: 17
County: St. Joseph
Township: Fabius
Read Details

Dayton-Willard Preserve, Van Buren Co.


Access:
limited
Acquisition: Donated by Willard, 2009
Acres: 41
County: Van Buren
Township: Waverly
Read Details ­

Deer Creek Preserve, Berrien Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donation by Gary Beemer, 2003
Acres: 0.3
County: Berrien
Township: Chikaming
Read Details ­

Dowagiac Fen Preserve, Cass Co.


Access:
limited
Acquisition: Purchased with a USFWS grant, 2006
Acres: 29.6
County: Cass
Township: Wayne
Read Details ­

Dunes Parkway Preserve, Van Buren Co.



Access:
limited
Acquisition: Donated by Boerma and Bittner families 1998, Rossa family 2000, Morrison family 2001, Anderson family 2001, Swift family 2001, Pritzker family 2002, Read family 2004
Acres: 96.2
County: Van Buren
Township: Covert
Read Details­

Eastman Creek Preserve, Van Buren Co.



Access: limited
Acquisition:
2016
Acres: 138
County: Van Buren
Township: Geneva
Read Details

Glenn Allen Island, Kalamazoo Co.


Access:
limited
Acquisition:
Donation by Susan Allen and Holly Moll, 2003
Acres:
10
County: Kalamazoo
Township: Kalamazoo
Read Details

Harbert Preserve, Berrien Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donated by Swan family, 1996
Acres: 5.1
County: Berrien
Township: Chikaming
Read Details ­

Heath Road Preserve, Barry Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: 2014
Acres: 160
County: Barry
Township: Rutland
Read Details ­

Hultmark Preserve, Van Buren Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donated, 1993
Acres: 23.5
County: Van Buren
Township: Columbia
Read Details ­

Justin's Marsh, Kalamazoo Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donated by Dr. Russ Mohney, 2006
Acres: 86
County: Kalamazoo
Township: Schoolcraft
Read Details­

KEKA Preserve, Kalamazoo Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donated by Jim and Lois Richmond, 2009
Acres: 33.5
County: Kalamazoo
Township: Comstock
Read Details­ ­

Lacey Preserve, St. Joseph Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donated by Hugh Lacey, 1998
Acres: 5
County: St. Joseph
Township: Park
Read Details­

Marc's Marsh Preserve, Kalamazoo Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donated by Abueva family, 1999
Acres: 11
County: Kalamazoo
Township: Comstock
Read Details

Merganser Point Preserve, Berrien Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donated by Tony George, 2000
Acres:
10
County: Berrien
Township: City of New Buffalo
Read Details
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Donald & Hilda Myers Nature Preserve, Kalamazoo Co.


Access:
limited
Acquisition: 2013
Acres: 93
County: Kalamazoo
Township: Comstock
Read Details ­

Oak Braes Preserve, Kalamazoo Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donation by Everett and Margie Heistand, 2002
Acres: 40.8
County: Kalamazoo
Township: Charleston & Ross
Read Details
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Paw Paw River Preserve, Van Buren Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donated by West Paw LLC, 1997
Acres: 258
County: Van Buren
Township: Waverly
Read Details­

Pritschet-Davis Preserve, Allegan Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donated by Marybeth Pritschet and John Davis, 2004
Acres: 37.8
County: Allegan
Township: Hopkins
Read Details

Robert and Rosalie Emmons Augusta Floodplain Forest Preserve, Kalamazoo Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: 2016
Acres: 297
County: Kalamazoo
Township: Charleston
Read Details ­

Sand Creek Preserve, Kalamazoo Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donation by Ilse Gebhard and Russell Schipper, 2003
Acres: 115.8
County: Kalamazoo
Township: Alamo
Read Details­ ­

Schellenberg Woods Preserve, Kalamazoo Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donated, 1995
Acres: 10.6
County: Kalamazoo
Township: Oshtemo
Read Details ­

Sora Meadows, Van Buren Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donated by Phyllis Webb, 2009
Acres: 65
County: Van Buren
Township: Paw Paw
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Swan Creek Preserve, Allegan Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donated, 1994
Acres: 18.8
County: Allegan
Township: Cheshire
Read Details ­

Tamarack Swamp Preserve, Cass Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: 2014
Acres: 391
County: Cass
Township: Marcellus
Read Details

Tower Hill Preserve, Berrien Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donated, 1994
Acres: 1.5
County: Berrien
Township: Lake
Read Details ­

Wanondoger Creek Preserve, Calhoun Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donated, 1994
Acres: 29.6
County: Calhoun
Township: Pennfield
Read Details­

Wintergreen Woods, Van Buren Co.

Access: limited
Acquisition: Donation by Leonard and Sandra Herriman, 2001
Acres: 29.4
County: Van Buren
Township: Covert
Read Details