Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dowagiac Woods

Dowagiac Woods, a nature sanctuary protected by the Michigan Nature Association, is one of the best places to see wildflowers in Southwest Michigan. Spring flowers start blooming in April with Hepatica and Bloodroot and continue into May with Blue-eyed Mary and Trillium. More than fifty different kinds of wildflowers bloom in the preserve.

A well-marked trail leads through the woods and crosses Hunter's Creek. In places, the trail can be wet and muddy.

The preserve's eastern boundary is the Dowagiac River, one of the largest coldwater streams in Southern Michigan. The river was dredged and straightened in the 1920s. This created high berms that mostly block views of the river from the sanctuary. In recent years, efforts have been made to restore the natural meanders to the river.

In 2009, the MNA purchased an adjoining tract of land to expand the preserve to 384 acres. You can support the sanctuary by making a contribution to finance the expansion.

Dowagiac Woods Nature Sanctuary
31640 Frost Road
Dowagiac, MI 49047

From the town of Dowagiac go west on M-62. Turn left (south) onto
Sink Road. Then left (east) onto Frost Road. A marked parking area is on the left (north) side of Frost road.

Russ Forest is another wildflower destination in the area. (About 13 miles east of Dowagiac Woods.) I'll often visit both on a Spring afternoon.

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