Parks & Nature Centers near Harbor Country
While staying in Harbor Country, these parks and preserves are worth a day-trip!
Hiking trails, cross-country skiing, bird watching and more!
Dayton Wet Prairie, located in Bertrand Township, is 40-acre mosaic of communities with alkaline shrub/herb fen (Lower Great Lake type), wet prairie, and shrub carr. Chikaming Open Lands acwuired Dayton Wet Prairie from The nature Conservancy in 2011. A local dirt road bisects the preserve into north and south sections and the McCoy Creek slowly meanders through it as well. According to an ecological survey of the plants and animals in the wet prairie, there are several threatened and species of special concern including the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, Spotted Turtle, Eastern Box Turtle, White Lady's Slipper, Prairie Indian Plantain, and Edible Valerian. Due to its very delicate nature, this preserve is not open to the public, there is no parking, and there are no trails. Special permission must be obtained before visiting this site. www.chikaminopenlands.org
Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve, 13988 Range Line Rd, Niles. (near Buchanan on the St. Joseph River) Fernwood offers a wide variety of programs, classes and concerts throughout the year. This nationally recognized nature preserve offers many gardens and wooded trails on 106 acres. Enjoy lunch in the cafe, visit the art gallery, gift shop and small conservatory. For current information call 269-695-6491, www.fernwoodbotanical.org
Grand Mere State Park, John Beers Rd, Stevensville. Grand Mere is a secluded spot offering one of the finest bird watching areas in the state. Hiking trails wander through towering sand dunes, serene forests and wetlands. The park also offers a public beach and is pet friendly. 269-426-4013 http://tinyurl.com/85efgaa
Love Creek Nature Center, 9228 Huckleberry Rd, Berrien Center. Love Creek spans an180-acre park with 5 miles of hiking trails, cross-country skiing and an educational building. Lighted cross-country ski trails on Saturday night in winter. Rental equipment is available. 269-471-2617 www.berriencounty.org/parks
Madeline Bertrand County Park, 3038 Adams Rd, Niles. Enjoy three miles of flat terrain to gently rolling cross-country trails, 3-1/2 miles of hiking and 2 miles of biking trails through pine and oak forests along the St. Joseph River. Lighted cross-country skiing on weekends. Rental equipment is available Wednesday through Sunday. The park also features a Frisbee disc golf course, picnic areas, playground and modern restrooms. 269-683-8280 www.berriencounty.org/parks
Sarett Nature Center, 2300 Benton Center Rd, Benton Harbor, MI. Sarett is a dynamic place to witness nature unfold during every season. Five miles of self-guided nature trails are open dawn to dusk. Trail maps are available at the nature center. Sarett offers weekend nature programs, summer classes for children, cross-country skiing (rentals available) and adult outdoor adventure trips. Winter cross country ski lessons, rentals and snow shoeing. 269-927-4832, www.sarett.com