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New Trail beginning of improvements at Flynn Woods Preserve

Posted on August 21, 2018

Find article HERE.

LAKESIDE — On Saturday, Aug. 11, volunteers cleared brush, removed the remnants of an old fence and cleared invasive plants to create a short stretch of trail to connect Flynn Woods Preserve with the nearby 80-acre Robinson Woods Preserve (they’re separated by East Road).

Chikaming Open Lands Executive Director Ryan Postema said the pathway will both connect visitors to the new amenities and lead them to the existing trail system that goes further into the preserve. He said that trail system (based on a two-track dating to the days where there was a home on the property) will be improved and altered as well.

In the near future a parking area, picnic shelter and portable restroom facility will be added on the front portion of the 35-acre property (near a large oak tree).

“It’s going in this summer,” Postema added.

Chikaming Open Lands also is seeking to establish a new 49-acre nature preserve with Galien River frontage on Warren Woods Road between Warren Woods State Park and Chikaming Township Park and Preserve to be dedicated in memory of the organization’s late executive director, Chris Thompson.

Postema said the purchase price is $555,000, and he said existing Partners in Conservation money from The Pokagon Fund will cover about a third of the total cost.

“The other two thirds we’re raising in donations and foundation grant requests (which are still pending).”

He said about $320,000 was available for the preserve as of Aug. 11 — adding that the contract deadline to purchase the property is Sept. 30.

He said the portion of the land closer to Warren Woods Road is open and will be restored as a native prairie while areas near the river are forested.

Postema said tours of the site are being conducted, with several open to the general public being planned for later in August.

Individuals interested in contributing to the project or scheduling a tour may contact the COL offices at (269) 405-1006. Online donations may be made at www.chikamingopenlands.org/ctmp.

Chikaming Open Lands reports that the month-long #10Trail Challenge (co-sponsored by the Rotary Club of Harbor Country) held in July was “a huge success!”

More than 160 people registered, with about 40 completing all 10 trails and another 31 completing anywhere from 1 to 9 of the trails. More than 70 prizes will be distributed to participants.

“This was a great way to get people outdoors and explore new places in the area that, for some, have never heard of before. We were able to get a wide range of ages out on the trails, it was exciting to see so many happy faces in the pictures. We got quite a few comments from people saying they haven’t heard of many of these trails, loved them and will definitely visit them again,” said  Education and Outreach Coordinator Casey Struecker in a news release.

“We had people sign up from New Buffalo, Three Oaks, Sawyer, Harbert, Lakeside, Bridgman, Stevensville, Saint Joseph, Benton Harbor, Berrien Springs, Buchanan, Galien, South Bend, La Porte, Michigan City, Chicago and even from Maryland (she was visiting relatives that live in Sawyer for a week, and they completed the challenge!)”

Comments from participants included the following:

“I love to hike and had fun visiting the preserves, many of which I had not been to before” — Lisa Newell from Granger, Ind.

“I finally did it- made it through all ten trails and had a blast! Thank you so much for this challenge — it was my first time visiting all of the locations, and I will definitely be visiting them again (I especially liked Galien River County Park)” — Melissa Kaluzny from Goshen, Ind.

COL plans to do the challenge again next year, switching up some of the trails.