Protected, owned and managed by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy.

This property includes substantial acreage within the critical Mitchell Creek watershed and more than a mile of undeveloped frontage along several tributaries. 

Visitors can learn about and experience diverse, critical habitats while traversing the universally accessible Looyenga Family Trail. The nearly .75-mile path, made possible by Roger and Ann Looyenga in honor of their children and grandchildren, includes sensitively designed boardwalk sections to protect fragile wetland habitats and offers several opportunities for viewing nature. 

The trail begins by passing through wetlands, meadows, and forest restoration areas. At the first intersection, visitors have the option to explore Glen’s Grove, a dense stand of white cedar situated on a groundwater seep. Continuing on, a boardwalk and aggregate path meanders east through open areas before crossing a stream and looping through a riparian forest. This section of the trail includes a spur leading to an elevated platform that offers scenic views of the surrounding landscape.

Once a golf course, the habitat here is undergoing restoration as GTRLC’s staff and volunteers remove invasive plants and plant native perennials, trees and shrubs. Meanwhile, a collaborative watershed restoration effort is underway to improve water quality in the Mitchell Creek watershed. Another collaborative plan among GTRLC, TART, Norte, and East Bay Township calls for this preserve to play a key role in initiatives to get children safely to and from school via trails on the property. 

The nature preserve is home to the Conservancy’s main office and campus for conservation. Click here to read more about the facilities at Mitchell Creek Meadows: The Don and Jerry Oleson Nature Preserve.

To learn more about how this special place was protected, read the Mitchell Creek Meadows chapter from our Campaign for Generations publication.