At a Glance
- Approximate Street Address: 3118 Plaza Drive NE, Grand Rapids, MI
- Lamberton Lake Fen Nature Preserve is the Land Conservancy’s most urban preserve. Despite being within the Grand Rapids city limits, the preserve protects a high-quality prairie fen, a type of wetland that is very rare in West Michigan.
- Trail length: 0.2 miles
- Before you visit, check out our preserve guidelines. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Note that the fen itself is closed to the public.
The trailhead is located at the end of Plaza Drive NE in Grand Rapids. Parking is available along the south side of Plaza Drive.
What to See
A berm constructed in the 1960s provides a convenient pathway through the preserve – allowing views of Lamberton Creek and the wetlands on either side of the trail. Forested areas and shrubby wetlands support colorful birds like American redstart, rose-breasted grosbeak, green heron, wood duck, and Baltimore oriole, which are especially abundant during annual migration.
Note: Because of the sensitivity of fen ecosystems, the fen itself is closed to the public, including classes and groups. Access to the fen is by permit only. Contact Justin for more information about Special Access Permits.
Lamberton Lake Fen Nature Preserve protects Lamberton Lake Fen, a rare wetland type. The preserve supports more than 100 native plant species, and the fen is home to several plant and animal species that are threatened, endangered, or otherwise imperiled in Michigan.
The Land Conservancy, with the help of many volunteers, is leading a long-term project to restore the fen, which has been severely impacted by glossy buckthorn, an aggressive invasive species. Invasive species removal is coupled with restoring natural hydrologic patterns and carefully using prescribed fire, which helps to protect and improve the fen habitat. Check out this segment from EightWest about the Fen restoration.
In 1994, the Land Conservancy accepted the donation of 19 acres of undeveloped land, which included Lamberton Lake Fen. Although the property is largely wetland, it was scheduled to be converted for use as an apartment building, as was done with the shoreline to the west. The developer’s plans changed when Michigan enacted a law protecting threatened and endangered species, and state biologists confirmed that the property hosted a thriving population of rare wildflowers.
Ten years later, the Land Conservancy accepted an additional donation of five acres of wooded shoreline on the west side of Lamberton Lake. Combined, the two parcels at Lamberton Lake Fen Nature Preserve protect a remarkably natural shoreline in a highly urban setting.