The preserve can be accessed via a gravel parking area on the east side of Centerline Road, about a quarter-mile north of Lincoln Street. Look for the large preserve sign.
A newer nature preserve, the Land Conservancy will be working to establish a trail system and signage at Richmond Woods in the coming years.
In the meantime, visitors can explore the network of old two-tracks on the property or find their own way through the woods. Bring a compass or GPS unit though – it’s easy to get turned around!
Straddling both the Pere Marquette and White River watersheds, Richmond Woods Nature Preserve protects a pristine sphagnum bog and a high-quality sedge meadow wetland. Those wetlands protect water quality and are also home to the American Bittern, a bird in the heron family that is classified as special concern in Michigan.
The center of the preserve supports a mixed oak forest that is being managed for sustainable timber harvest. Adjacent to U.S. Forest Service land, Richmond Woods Nature Preserve helps protect a large expanse of Michigan’s iconic forest and wetland habitats.
Working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Land Conservancy has recently developed a Forest Management Plan for the oak forest on the preserve. In the coming years, portions of the forest will undergo selective harvest of timber – all done according to strict standards of sustainability. The harvest will promote oak regeneration, improve the health of remaining trees, and serve as a demonstration for how others can wisely manage forests on their own land.
The Land Conservancy is also working to create a trail system through the property, making the preserve more accessible to hikers and other nature enthusiasts.
James Richmond, a city-raised New Jersey native with dreams of settling in the country, purchased the property in 1910. Over the years, the property remained in the Richmond family and was eventually passed down to James’ great-grandchildren, Kathleen Fleming and John Gottschalk. Wanting to honor their great-grandfather and see the land protected, Kathleen and John approached the Land Conservancy with the idea of turning the land into a nature preserve.
Impressed by the high-quality natural features and wilderness character of the property, the Land Conservancy worked with a number of partners – including Ducks Unlimited and the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant program – to make Kathleen and John’s vision a reality. Richmond Woods is the Land Conservancy’s first nature preserve in Newaygo County.