Nature has our backs. Let’s return the favor.

Our public preserves remain free and open from dawn to dusk – and your support helps keep them that way!

Portman Nature Preserve

Almena & Antwerp Townships   •   Van Buren County   •   189 acres

Located in southwest Michigan’s “wine country,” this preserve has woods and spring-fed lakes, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, and is home to many types of plants and animals.

189 acres
Almena & Antwerp Townships
Van Buren County

Located in southwest Michigan’s “wine country,” this preserve has woods and spring-fed lakes, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, and is home to many types of plants and animals.

 

 

Parking

Gravel lot with asphalt pad, school bus accessible
34 car capacity

Trails

Length: 2 miles

Packed dirt trails are narrow and hilly in some places. A platform (funded by Mattawan Public Schools students) on the shore of Mud Lake provides scenic views and good birdwatching opportunities. Following the trail, hikers, cross causeway between Mud Lake and a wetland, before climbing a gradual slope into an upland forest. The trail continues to the shore of Lime Lake, then turns onto a boardwalk (built by volunteers) that offers interesting views into a fen wetland before ascending on a steep and narrow trail that joins the main trail. A hilly side loop dips down to another portion of wetland, and then up into woods. Trails are color-coded and correspond to posted wayfaring maps.

Dogs

Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times. Dog waste must be packed out. Click to learn more.

Restrooms

none

Recreation

Cross-country skiing, fall color, hiking, scenic views, snowshoeing, spring wildflowers, summer wildflowers, trail running, wildlife viewing.

PLEASE NOTE: Fishing, boating, and swimming are not allowed at Portman Nature Preserve. Thank you for helping us to keep this preserve wild and natural.

Maps

 

 

Track your progress in real time as you hike through the preserve with the interactive Avenza Maps App (available on iOS and Android for free)!

1. Click to add the Avenza Maps App to your phone.

2. Click to open the PDF of the Portman Nature Preserve Trail Map.

3. Copy the URL at the top of the page.

4. In the Avenza Maps app, click the ‘plus’ (+) symbol at the top of the page. Then choose ‘Tap to enter a URL of a map.’

5. Paste the copied URL and the trail map will automatically load into the app.

6. Take a hike!

Click here for interactive maps for other SWMLC preserves.

Need help? Visit the Avenza Maps Support Page.

Prefer to have a paper map?
Click on the map image for a PDF that you can print or leave open on your phone while you hike.

Getting there

 

 

For GPS purposes, the address is approximately:
42.240846535982136, -85.8313687443705

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).

Natural features

 

 

Portman Nature Preserve offers 189 acres of high-quality prairie fen, wetland, savanna and woodland habitats, and is blessed with water from three lakes, a creek, and hundreds of springs.

It is home to an astounding number of rare, threatened, and endangered plant and animal species, including 447 plants, 20+ mammals, 107 birds, 24+ reptiles and amphibians, 35 butterflies . . . and we’re still counting the other insects!

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, Portman Nature Preserve 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.

Nature has our backs.

Let’s return the favor.

Our public preserves remain free and open from dawn to dusk – and your support helps keep them that way!

History

 

 

With assistance from Enbridge Energy, in partnership with US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Conservation Fund, US Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species ProgramUSDA Forest Service Community Forest ProgramThe Carls FoundationThe Burdick Thorne FoundationThe H.P. and Genevieve Connable FundNancy Malcomson Connable Fund, Gerald and Julie Portman, and over 350 individual and organizational donors, the community raised the $2.2 million needed to complete this project and Portman Nature Preserve was opened to the public in 2017.

Video

 

 

Video: see and hear the passion behind this project . . .

As part of the fundraising effort behind the creation of Portman Nature Preserve, SWMLC worked with Rhino Media to make a series of short, inspiring videos. Here is the first one – see them all  on our YouTube channel.

Nature has our backs. Let’s return the favor.

Our public preserves remain free and open from dawn to dusk – and your support helps keep them that way!

Subscribe for news from SWMLC

Thank you for subscribing for SWMLC news.

Unable to send.