Black: 0.32 mi - This handicap-accessible loop connects the parking lot to Gahagan's cabin, pond, and wetland boardwalks.
Orange: 0.69 mi - This long path follows much of the preserve's perimeter and passes through various forest habitats.
Blue: 0.21 mi - The blue trail passes through the preserve's interior, skirting grassy areas and one of our two deer 'exclosures'.
Yellow: 0.23 mi - This trail winds through tree stands of varying age/composition and is our most popular for deer sightings.
White: 0.31 mi - The white trail surrounds a unique, open area that was recently the site of an uncontrolled wildfire.
Green: 0.53 mi - The green trail has beautiful sights and old-growth pine stands, but the terrain is often uneven and wet.
Our parking lot sits on the curve joining Southfield Road with Maplehurst. The brown sign marks the trailhead for our handicap-accessible "Black Trail" loop.
The visitor's kiosk sits near the parking lot and displays information about the preserve's history, our education programs, and upcoming events.
The interpretive center hosts students of all ages for the preserve's environmental education programs. The cabin was built to Marguerite's exact specifications in 1959. She would write, edit, and publish her paper from this building for ten years.
The preserve built an outdoor restroom in 2015 with help from the Wade Family General Fund and the Sherwood Boudeman Family. The bathroom is open to the public from May 1st to October 31st.
Although this pond was artificially created by Marguerite, it now serves a similar ecological role as a naturally-occurring vernal pool. It's changing water level makes it an ideal habitat for amphibians, turtles, and aquatic insects.
A floating boardwalk connects parts of the "Black Trail" and a wooden observation platform overlooking Tank Creek. When not filled with excited students, this structure provides a quiet place to relax or watch for pileated woodpeckers flying overhead.
Students learn from "outdoor classrooms" during spring and fall field trips to the preserve. The aluminum seating pictured here was constructed by Eagle Scout candidate Noah Ekdom in 2014.
Gahagan's two exclosures guard small patches of the forest floor from any hungry white-tailed deer. Michigan's deer population is much greater than what our habitats can reasonably sustain, and these exclosures provide a glaring visual demonstration of how much healthier our forests might look with a real predator in the lower peninsula.