Cascade Peace Park
This natural area in Cascade Township features a beautiful hardwood forest and a small stream and wetlands that feed the Grand River.Read More
A small parking area is located off of 36th Street, about a quarter-mile east of Alden Nash. Look for a preserve sign marking the entrance.
Bradford Dickinson White Nature Preserve is a Category 2 LCWM nature preserve. Category 2 preserves may have limited parking or shorter trail systems. Most trails can be hiked in 30 minutes or less.
The trail leads hikers through tall stands of pine and majestic oak-hickory forests, providing panoramic glimpses of the wetland below. Though it’s close to Lowell, visitors often comment on the solitude and wilderness feel of the preserve. There are no restrooms at this preserve.
The trails at Bradford Dickinson White Nature Preserve are marked with blue blazes on the trees. The trails are natural surface, 1.5 feet wide, and traverse through rolling terrain, guiding hikers up and down sometimes steep slopes. A bridge connects the trail across Karen Creek. The average grade is 5% with a maximum grade of 18%. The average cross slope is <2%.
B.D. White Nature Preserve protects high-quality natural land in an area dominated by agricultural and suburban land uses. The north end of the preserve contains remnants of oak barrens vegetation–one of Michigan’s rarest ecosystem types. The shrub-carr wetland on the preserve is one of the area’s most diverse, supporting more than 130 native plant species. The preserve also contributes to water quality improvement by protecting wetlands along a half-mile stretch of a cold water tributary to the Grand River.
The Land Conservancy is beginning a long-term project to restore the oak barrens remnants in the northern portion of the preserve – and to improve the health of the oak-hickory forest elsewhere. Management practices include selective forest thinning, prescribed burning, and invasive species removal.
Like most areas in West Michigan, the land that is now the preserve was logged by the late 1800s. By the late 1930s, young trees had grown back to cover the northern portion of the property, while the southern part remained cleared. In 1940, the land was purchased by a Grand Rapids lawyer, who planted pines to stabilize the soil and a victory garden to hedge against food shortages during World War II.
In time, the property transferred to his son, Bradford (Brad) White, and Brad’s wife, Evangeline (Van). Brad and Van, their children, and grandchildren continued to enjoy the property. They fished for trout in the stream and picnicked on its banks. The children enjoyed trimming the trails and building bridges over the stream with downed logs.
Over the years, Brad received many inquiries from local developers who were interested in purchasing his property. But he had hopes of keeping the property natural for the enjoyment of future generations, so he always turned them down.
When Brad passed away in 2003, Van decided to create a legacy out of Brad’s love for the family property. In 2005, she donated 45 acres of the land to the Land Conservancy to create a nature preserve in his name.