Pyatt Lake: The Bill Carls Nature Preserve

← Back to the preserves and other protected land list or preserves and other protected land map

  • Nate1
  • IMG_0060-morning
  • IMG_0026-trees

Click thumbnails to launch in-page gallery

Preserve Activities

Before You Head Out

Please review the preserve rules and the hunting rules, which vary by preserve. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Support Our Work

To support this preserve, protected land or any other initiatives:

Support Our Work

Protected, Owned and Managed by The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy

Walking the soft forest paths through this pristine landscape and unique habitat mosaic, visitors to Pyatt Lake: The Bill Carls Nature Preserve quickly understand this is a special place.  Protected in 1992, Pyatt Lake represents not only an undisturbed landscape with unique habitat and geologic features, but also the Conservancy’s first land preservation effort.  Many diverse groups, from local artists to school children, came together to shield this land from the threat of impending development.  Prior to Pyatt’s protection the beauty and value of this property was recognized by both developers and conservationists.  Luckily, the property had been identified as one of the most botanically diverse privately owned property in Grand Traverse County and was one of three remaining examples of “Wooded Dune and Swale Complex” habitat in northern Michigan.  As a result a compelling argument for Pyatt’s regional significance and preservation was successfully made.  Over the years Pyatt Lake Preserve has been expanded eight times, bringing it to 159 acres.

Thousand of years ago, Pyatt Lake was actually an arm of Grand Traverse Bay. The hills criss-crossing the preserve are sand dunes formed when this area was part of the larger lake. This dune ridge – a regionally unique habitat – is known as wooded dune and swale. These glacial “tracks” make Pyatt Lake Nature Preserve a living laboratory for geology buffs!

The mosaic of habitat types at Pyatt Lake offers refuge to a wide variety of animal and plant species. More than 250 plant species have been identified on the property, and each spring orchids and trillium carpet the ground in a sea of color. Migrating waterfowl use the lake as a resting area, and warblers, winter wrens, woodpeckers, and owls all flourish in the maturing forest.

Pyatt Lake Nature Preserve is located just 20 minutes north of Traverse City on the Old Mission Peninsula. To help navigate the 1.5 miles of trail and the preserve please checkout the Trail Map.

159. Grand Traverse County.

Maps + Directions

Get Directions

Mountain Biking is indicated where there are marked trails that are designed for and capable of handling bike traffic.
Birding can be done on all properties so we have added an icon to lands that are either exceptional for birding in uniqueness or diversity or are being specifically managed for bird habitat.
Fishing is indicated where it is a primary feature of the property.
Hiking is indicated where there are marked trails.
Hunting is indicated where it is legal to hunt however each preserve has specific stipulations which are specified for each preserve.
Kayaking/Canoeing is indicated on properties that either have a put-in on the land or have off-property public access proximal to the preserve. Some preserves are only accessible by boat.
Sanctuary properties have ecologically sensitive features and active use is discouraged.
Parking is indicated where there are designated areas for parking. Many lands do not have specific parking so please be safe and respectful of your parking choices when you visit a preserve w/o designated parking.
Skiing / Snowshoeing is indicated where back country (non groomed) skiing and snowshoeing is recommended and the road and/or parking lot is plowed.
Scenic Vistas are indicated where a grand view of the surrounding area is available.
Trail Running is indicated where there are marked trails that are capable of handling the rigors of trail running and are at least one mile in length.
Swimming is indicated where there is specific access to water and is swimming is a primary feature of the property.
Volunteers are needed at this preserve.