A Preserve in Progress

A Preserve in Progress

As the chill of winter slowly loosens its grip, the familiar signs of spring are returning to McDuffee Creek Nature Preserve. The grays and browns of the winter landscape are warming up into a vibrant chartreuse. Returning birds are filling the canopy with their familiar songs. The melting snow is gently quickening the flow of the waterways and transforming barren depressions in the landscape into lively wetlands. Here is where you’ll find the proudest heralds of spring: diverse communities of frogs who loudly sing of life’s return after a long, dark winter. 

It’s a seasonal shift that has happened since time immemorial on this landscape. But there are a few new things to report from this scenic nature preserve in northern Newaygo County. 

McDuffee Creek Nature Preserve, Land Conservancy of West Michigan © 2023 Photography by Steve Jessmore, Steve Jessmore Photography

Since acquiring the 300-acre property in early 2023, Land Conservancy of West Michigan staff and volunteers have been hard at work building trails, removing old structures, and beginning habitat restoration projects. The nature preserve is slowly becoming a more welcoming place for visitors, and we’re hopeful that our efforts to remove invasive species, restore oak savanna and forest habitat, and improve riparian habitat will welcome more birds, fish, and wildlife, too. 

There are more exciting improvements to come in 2024. We are grateful to have received permit approval from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy for boardwalks and a bridge to enhance the trail system at McDuffee Creek Nature Preserve. Once established, the bridge will carry visitors over the Little South Branch of the Pere Marquette River and enable them to see the eastern side of the preserve and McDuffee Creek. The new boardwalks will keep boots dry as visitors walk right amongst the symphonic wetlands that pepper this part of the landscape. Once complete, the trail system will total four miles. 

Along with the bridge, boardwalks, and trails will come new signage and a second entrance to the preserve along 14 Mile Road. By fall 2024, there will be so much more to explore at McDuffee Creek Nature Preserve. 

The Land Conservancy was able to act expeditiously to acquire McDuffee Creek Nature Preserve with support from Ducks Unlimited, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Community Foundation for Muskegon County, and the Land Conservancy’s Land Acquisition Fund. In summer 2023, we launched a campaign to replenish our Land Acquisition Fund and support the future care of the nature preserve and establishment of public use amenities. We are grateful to everyone who has donated to support McDuffee Creek Nature Preserve. Thank you! 

If you would like to show your support for McDuffee Creek Nature Preserve and help fund its perpetual care and maintenance, you can make a donation on our website at naturenearby.org/mcnp. 

No Comments

Post a Comment

Sign up for our E-news!

Receive the latest West Michigan conservation news, events and volunteer opportunities in your inbox.
* = required field