Recognized for its incredible botanical diversity, Pyatt Lake: The Bill Carls Nature Preserve was protected as the Conservancy’s first nature preserve in 1992. With the support of many generous donors and landowners, numerous land additions have expanded the preserve over the last three decades, allowing ongoing improvements to the trail system while safeguarding its sensitive ecological features.

In 2021, the first-ever universally accessible (UA) trail on Old Mission Peninsula was created at Pyatt Lake, inviting people of all ages and abilities to experience the unique wonders of this special place. GTRLC built on this success in 2023 with a new parking area and trailhead off Peninsula Drive, along with a UA trail through the northern section of the preserve.

The Conservancy now aims to further enrich experiences for all who visit the preserve by connecting both trailheads with a UA trail. Currently, visitors have to cross a section of Pyatt Road to traverse the entire trail system from one trailhead to the other. To offer a complete UA connection and a longer trail experience for visitors with mobility challenges, a proposed trail extension will be built using a blend of aggregate trail and boardwalk, linking the parking area on Pyatt Road with the Peninsula Drive trailhead.

As trail usage is expected to increase after these improvements, the Conservancy plans to upgrade the Peninsula Drive parking area with UA parking pads similar to those offered at the Pyatt Road trailhead. This enhancement will include the removal of the existing orchard, making room for the growth of native trees, including some larger stock trees to establish a more natural-looking trailhead.

Furthermore, recent and pending land additions present an opportunity to formalize a social trail from the southernmost observation platform to Peninsula Drive. This enhancement, primarily consisting of a hand-built trail and some non-UA boardwalk, will provide safe, walk-in access to this area while protecting the preserve’s sensitive wetland habitats.

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