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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.

Read the Pyatt Lake chapter from our 25th anniversary publication Love the Land: Pass it On.

Certain types of hunting are allowed in accordance with state regulations:

  • Deer hunting; bow only.
  • No trapping

For more information, please visit our Hunting Regulations page.

Dogs are welcome, but they must be leashed at all times! Click here to find out why.


Pyatt Lake Trails

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