The Highlands

County: Kent Established: 2017 121 Acres
Features
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Hiking
  • Scenic Vista
  • Urban Greenspace
  • Water Feature
Amenities
  • Leashed Pets Allowed
  • Parking
The Highlands is a collaborative project between the Land Conservancy and Blandford Nature Center.

At a Glance

  • Approximate Street Address: 2715 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids, MI
  • The Highlands is located on the west side of the city of Grand Rapids at the former Highlands Golf Club and adjacent to Blandford Nature Center. Planning and restoration efforts are underway to transform the property into a premier urban natural area.
  • Trail length: 2 miles
  • Parking is available in the large lower lot. Parking in the circle drive lot in front of the clubhouse and the lot behind the clubhouse is reserved for building tenants only.
  • Download the trail guide here.

What to See

Currently, The Highlands closely resembles its 100+ year history as a golf course. However, in its first season as a natural area, the grass has grown high and wildlife has moved in, including turtles, fox, deer, muskrat, and a multitude of birds and insects.

Conservation Value

It is rare for a piece of manicured or developed urban land to return to nature. For over a century, the land has been extensively watered and fertilized. The restoration of this landscape will bring about substantial improvements to water and air quality in the city and will help in the city’s goal to increase forest canopy. The project also offers educational opportunities and will be a model for large-scale urban restoration in the region.

What’s New

Blandford Nature Center and the Land Conservancy of West Michigan collaborated on the purchase of the 121-acre Highlands Golf Club in Grand Rapids in the winter of 2017 with a vision to transform the property into a natural area for community recreation and education (Read more about the acquisition here).

The property was acquired with a loan from The Conservation Fund. The Conservation Fund is a national nonprofit organization that helps local communities achieve their conservation goals. As the property begins its transformation, Blandford and the Land Conservancy will be working with the community to create a plan and make improvements on the property. Once plans are in place, they will be working with the community to secure the necessary funding to repay the loan.

The Highlands project is made possible with support from the Judy & Kenneth Betz Family, Consumers Energy Foundation, Peter C. & Emajean Cook Foundation, Frey Foundation Fund of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Third Coast Development, Wege Foundation and Wolverine Worldwide Foundation.

Guidelines

The Highlands is a place where people of all ages can discover nature. Please help promote safe use by following these guidelines when visiting:

Make Sure You:

Keep pets leashed and pick up their waste
Take out your trash
Stay out of the buildings
Leave plants and wildlife in place
Enjoy your visit!

Please Do Not:

Camp or build fires
Bring alcohol or smoke
Play golf
Use bikes or motorized vehicles
Damage trails, signs, or natural features

Features
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Hiking
  • Scenic Vista
  • Urban Greenspace
  • Water Feature
Amenities
  • Leashed Pets Allowed
  • Parking

Sign up for our E-newsletter

Get all the latest West Michigan conservation stories, news, and invitations in our monthly e-newsletter.
* = required field
Updates