Maas Family Nature Preserve north of Rockford made a nice stop on the White Pine Trail. I didn't know anything about it, but when I saw the sign and a bike rack, I decided to take a break from cycling. The preserve was small (about 17 acres) and had one footpath crossing the entire preserve.
I noticed native prairie grasses growing amongst the oak trees and realized this was a special environment. Oak Savannas or Oak Pine Barrens were once common in southwest Michigan. Development and fire suppression has made these habitats increasingly rare.
Wild Lupine is one of the characteristic wildflowers of this area and it's the critical food for the endangered Karner Blue butterfly. By protecting this preserve, the Land Conservancy of West Michigan provides habitat for this endangered species.
Information on the Maas Family Nature Preserve [pdf]