At a Glance
- Approximate Street Address: 2003 Perry Street, Holland, MI
- Located just north of Holland, Kuker-Van Til Nature Preserve protects natural land in a highly developed area. A loop trail leads hikers through a variety of habitats: young oak forests, mature hardwood swamps, and open sandy dunes.
- Trail length: 0.7 miles
- Before you visit, check out our preserve guidelines. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
- Please note: Dogs or other pets are not allowed at this preserve.
Parking is available along the shoulder of Perry Street. The trailhead is marked with a preserve sign. Please note that dogs or other pets are not allowed at Kuker-Van Til.
What to See
Just minutes from Holland, Kuker-Van Til Nature Preserve is a great place to enjoy a quiet stroll through rolling hills and towering trees. The diversity of habitats on the preserve – wetlands, forests, and open areas – makes the area a haven for birds and a variety of other wildlife. Hikers often spot deer, wild turkeys, and other animals during their visit.
Kuker-Van Til protects a recovering oak forest in an area greatly affected by residential development. The mature hardwood swamp on the east end of the preserve supports many uncommon plant species and acts as a natural filter for surface water flowing into Lake Macatawa.
The Land Conservancy is working to remove an old scotch pine plantation and establish a native oak forest in its place. Other stewardship efforts focus on removing invasive species such as oriental bittersweet and garlic mustard, which threaten the long-term health of the forest on the preserve.
Property owners Bernard (Bud) and Edith (Edie) Van Til watched as development engulfed the land around their property that had been in Edie’s family since 1932. For years they resisted the pressure to sell to developers, and worked instead to preserve the property in a natural state. After Bud’s death, Edie began talking with the Land Conservancy about ways to protect the land forever.
Edie passed away in 2005 before protection of the land was in place. The property was willed to Larry and Marilyn Blackburn, who had been neighbors and close friends of the Van Tils for many years. Fortunately, the Blackburns upheld Edie’s wishes for the property, and continued working with the Land Conservancy to protect the land. In 2006, the Land Conservancy established Kuker-Van Til Nature Preserve to maintain the scenic, natural character of the preserve for generations to come.