Lake St. Clair Metropark banding report - May 6-14, 2017 - Banding the first half of May had some challenges, and many rewards. The first day we planned to band, May 5, was rained out and on two days the park opene...
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1. Sarret Nature Center
"There, in a gallery of manmade structures-- towers, elevated platforms, benches, boardwalks, and an extensive system of woodchip covered paths-- you can view 350 acres of swamp and floodplain forest from a wide range of perspectives." Nature trails, birdwatching, visitor center.
directions:from I-94, east of Benton Harbor, take I-196 north 1 mile to Red Arrow Highway (first exit). West on Red Arrow to Benton Center Road (first intersection). North on Benton Center 3/4 mile to entrance. 2300 Benton Center Rd, Benton Harbor.
Sarret Nature Center
2. Love Creek Nature Center
"Your camera will also come in handy during walks down any of the 200-acre center's 13 nature trails." Visitor center, wildflowers, hiking, birdwatching, cross county skiing.
directions: From Berrien Springs take M-139 (Old US-31)southeast to Pokagon Road. East on Pokagon, 2 miles to Huckleberry Road. 1 mile north on Huckleberry to entrance. 9228 Huckleberry Rd, Berrien Center
Love Creek Nature Center
3. Dayton Creek Wet Prairie Preserve
"This quietly spectacular preserve holds one of the last vestiges of a 15,000-acre prairie that at one time spread over much of the Michigan/Indiana border." 47 acres, Nature Conservancy, wildflowers, wet!
directions: From US-31 exit onto US-12, then 2 miles west to Red Bud Trail. South on Red Bud 2 miles to Curran Road. West on Curran, 2 miles to preserve.
4. Bertrand Park
"This heavily wooded 121-acre Berrien County park is as pleasing to the senses today as it must have been to the Indians who passed through it on the Saul and Chicago trails and to the French voyageurs who paddled their fur-laden canoes down the historic St. Joseph River, which marks the park's west boundary." Hiking, birding, picnic shelters, playgrounds, disc golf, cross country ski trails.
directions: From Niles take M-51 south 2 miles to Ontario Drive. East on Ontario 1/2 mile to Adams Road. 1/2 mile south on Adams to park entrance. Admission
Madeline Bertrand County Park
5. Trillium Ravine Plant Preserve
"Press on through all this natural beauty until you get to a V-shaped ravine with almost geometrically perfect sides. By late spring its steep slopes are blanketed in a rich, dense green that from a distance looks like the felt covering on a pool table." Wildflowers, mature hardwoods, toadshade and prairie trillium (bloom as early as April 9th), Michigan Nature Association, 15 acres.
directions: From Niles, north on Business US-31 to Walton Road (US 31). Southwest on Walton to Geyer Road. 0.6 miles east on Geyer to preserve.
6. Fernwood, Inc.
"Fernwood, a 105-acre privately owned preserve and botanical garden on the east bank of the St. Joseph River where you can enjoy the peace and beauty of nature from a garden gazebo, a riverbank, the midst of a garden, or a hillside full of azaleas." Nature trails, arboretum, garden beds, greenhouse.
directions: From Niles, take US 12 west 4 miles to Red Bud Trail. North on Red Bud to Walton Road to Range Line Road.
13988 Range Line Road.
Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve
7. Dowagiac Woods
"Spring is without a doubt the best time to visit, Fifty different blooming species of wildflowers literally carpet the forest floor then in a spectacular display." Trails, wildflowers, birdwatching, Michigan Nature Association.
directions: From Dowagiac, 4 miles west on M-62 then south 1 mile on Sink Road to Frost Road. 1 miles east on Frost to parking area.
8. Russ Forest Park
"At this Cass County park, you have the rare opportunity to picnic, hike and study nature in a national Natural Landmark that also serves as a living research laboratory." Nature trails, Newton Woods, old growth hardwoods, trout stream, picnic area & playground.
directions: Eight miles west of Marcellus on Marcellus Highway.
Fred Russ Forest Park
9. Dr T.K. Lawless County Park
"A covey of knobby hills and deep hollows ripple the parks landscape." Trails, birdwatching, picnic area with sports fields, cross-country skiing.
directions:From Vandalia, east on M-60, two miles to Lewis Lake Road. South on Lewis to Monkey Run St. East on Monkey Run .5 mile to park entrance.
Dr. T.K. Lawless Park
10. White Pigeon River Nature Sanctuary
"Fifty-eight acres of steep hillsides, old river channels, flooded bottomlands, lagoons and riverbanks, plus a riot of plant and animal life are good reasons to visit and explore this premier example of the work of the Michigan Nature Association." Birding, wildflowers, nature trail.
directions: From White Pigeon, West on US 12 then South on Burke Road. Park at intersection of Burke & Silver Creek Road.
White Pigeon River Nature Sanctuary
11. Pahl Point Park
"On the face of it, this small St. Joseph County park hardly seems worth going out of your way to visit." Diverse habitat, birding, covered bridge, wildflowers.
directions: from Mendon, 3 miles West on M-60, then South 3.3 miles on Silver St.
St. Joseph County Parks
1. Kalamazoo Nature Center
"Most of the outstanding natural features-- including the Kalamazoo River and more than 200 acres of mature beech/maple forest-- that drew James Fenimore Cooper as a regular visitor to the area more than 100 years ago are even more impressive today." nature trails, DeLano Homestead, interpretive center, arboretum.
directions: From US-131 exit Avenue D (north of Kalamazoo). East on D about 3 miles to Westnedge Avenue. South on Westnedge, 1 mile to entrance.
Kalamazoo Nature Center
2. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary
"This large number of different birds, their closeness to the visitor and the hand feeding of the Canadian Geese make the Kellogg Sanctuary an ideal place for a first exposure to nature study and birding, especially for children."
directions: Take M-89 to 40th Street (between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek). North on 40th 1 mile to C Avenue. West on C to entrance.
Kellogg Bird Sanctuary
3. Allegan State Game Area
"Scenic beauty, easy hiking, two campgrounds, and some of the state's best birdwatching are good reasons to pay a visit to the Allegan State Game Area."
directions: From Allegan, take M-89 to 115th Avenue. West 6 miles on 115th to 44th St. North on 44th to parking lots.
Allegan State Game Area
4. Bernard W Baker Sanctuary
"This 871 acres of swamp and wetlands near Battle Creek probably is the nation's first Sandhill Crane sanctuary and definitely is the first and largest of the Michigan Audubon Society's 10 sanctuaries."
directions: From I-94 take I-69 north to exit 42 (first exit). West on N Drive North to 16 Mile Road. North on 16 Mile about 3.3 miles to sanctuary.
5. Jenney Woods Preserve
"The wild, untamed 142-acre tract of swamp, old-growth hardwoods and swamp forest has no trails, no interpretive signs, no restrooms, and no parking lot."
directions: From I-94, take I-69 south about 6 miles to F Drive South. West on F to 15 1/2 mile Rd. North of 15 1/2 to C Drive. Left on C, 3miles to the preserve.
6. Whitehouse Nature Center
"Located on the campus of Albion College, the 125-acre center's other varied habitats-- including open fields, farmland, marshy areas, and the edges of the east branch of the Kalamazoo River, and 25 acres of woodland-- support nearly 400 kinds of plants and more than 175 species of birds."
directions: Take I-94 to exit 121 and follow Business-94 to Albion College. On campus, go south on Hannah across the railroad tracks and turn left to nature center parking lot.
Whitehouse Nature Center
1. Bald Mountain Trails
Seven miles north of Pontiac
"Bald Mountain Nordic Skiing is challenging and scenic with lots of rolling hills punctuated by the odd lake or stream."
Bald Mountain Recreation Area
2. Highland Recreation Area Pathway
"This no-frills (ungroomed, no shelter) system runs through the park's attractive Haven Hill natural Area which is off-limits to snowmobiliers."
Highland Recreation Area
3. Ionia Recreation Trails
"Six-mile loop that will challenge advanced skiers with its very hilly route."
Ionia Recreation Area
4. Maybury State Park Trails
"Nice getaway for more experienced skiers"
Maybury State Park
5. Muskegon State Park Trails
"Ideal for intermediate skiers, with varied terrain that ranges from mild rolls to more heart-pumping fare."
Muskegon State Park Winter Sports Complex
6. Proud Lake Trails
"One of the most popular cross-country skiing networks in southeastern Michigan."
Proud Lake Recreation Area
7. Saugatuck Dunes State Park Trails
"Tough but handsome"
Saugatuck Dunes State Park
8. Sleepy Hollow State Park Trails
"The trails pass through a number of open areas, making for sometimes windy conditions, but the system does offer nice views of Lake Ovid."
Sleepy Hollow State Park
9. Yankee Springs Trails
"Blessed with scenic countryside and an interesting blend of terrain, the Yankee Springs Recreation Area maintains half a dozen loops for skiers of varying abilities."
Yankee Springs Recreation Area
1. Alpine Valley
North of Kalamazoo
outside Grand Rapids
Cannonsburg Ski Area
4. Mt Brighton
near Ann Arbor & E. Lansing
Mt Brighton Ski Resort
5. Mt Holly
1 hour north of Detroit
6. Pine Knob
Pine Knob Ski Resort
7. Swiss Valley
north of Indiana border
Swiss Valley Ski Area
8. Timber Ridge
West of Kalamazoo
Timber Ridge Ski Area