Access: open to the public
Acquisition: 182-acre donation by John and Patricia Chipman, 2003; additional 46 acres purchased by SWMLC, 2004
Parking: gravel lot
Trails: Six miles of moderate trails through rolling savanna, forest, and grassland habitat. Popular place to cross-country ski.
Chipman Preserve is in the 8000 block of East Main St., 3 miles east of Sprinkle Rd. between 30th and 33rd Streets in Comstock Township (Galesburg). The preserve entrance is on the north side of the street.
There are remnant habitats of oak woodland, oak savanna and prairie on the preserve, supporting small numbers of a few different State-listed plants, including the threatened Yellow Harlequin. In addition to the State-listed species, there is significant representation of savanna species on the preserve. Eastern box turtles are found on rare occasions.
Habitat restoration and passive recreation are SWMLC’s goals for the Chipman Preserve. The rolling meadows and woodlands of the preserve offer a variety of experiences for outdoor enthusiasts. Over five miles of easy to moderate mowed trails lead visitors through pine forests, oak-hickory woodlands, and old fields as well as oak savanna and prairie restoration sites.
SWMLC is working to restore over 200 acres of habitat that were once common in the Kalamazoo area but has now almost completely disappeared; this is one of the largest oak savanna restoration sites on private land in the state. Small remnant populations of rare savanna and prairie plants found on the preserve are being encouraged through fire and brush removal. Additional species are being restored through seed and transplants from other nearby remnants. Red-tailed hawks, great horned owls, coyotes, eastern box turtles, red fox, indigo buntings, brown thrashers, and numerous other wildlife make Chipman Preserve their home.
Visitors in late May will find themselves knee-deep in wild lupine and prairie phlox. By the end of June, you will see a show of brilliant blue and orange as spiderwort and butterfly-weed begin to bloom. Winter snows provide a white blanket for skiers to explore the preserve.