Guided Walks, Workbees & Other Events
Attending one of our Docent-led guided walks is a sure way to get the most out of one of our Natural Areas. Our knowledgeable volunteers will share everything they know about these beautiful places. Please, so that we may plan for the best possible experience, do register in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling our office (231-256-9665). In some cases, space is limited. You’ll find directions to our Natural Areas on each web page, but if you have questions, don’t hesitate to call!
Most of our hikes last 1.5 to 2 hours and start by meeting at the trail head. If you are coming along for an evening hike, such as a sunset hike at Whaleback, please bring a flashlight along in case you need it for the walk back down the trail. Do dress according to the weather and potential weather.
Workbees are fun and a great way to get exercise and fresh air and meet new people. Workbee activities vary but include trail maintenance, invasive species removal, and structure repair (such as footbridges and stairs). As they are scheduled, workbee locations and tasks will appear in the chronological listing of events below. Summer 2013 will focus on building new trails at Swanson Preserve and DeYoung Natural Area.
If you have questions about the planned work or want to learn more about upcoming stewardship volunteer opportunities, e-mail Sarah Cook at email@example.com or call 231-256-9665. Please bring a water bottle, sunscreen and bug spray along to the workbee – as well as your favorite pair of work gloves if you have them. All other tools will be provided.
Directions and a Google Map to all of our Natural Areas and Preserves may be found under each property. Click here to see all our Natural Areas and Preserves.
Dog Policy at Natural Areas and Preserves
You and your dog are welcome to explore our Conservancy trails but please do NOT bring dogs to a scheduled docent-led hike. This will keep your dog safe at home during Conservancy scheduled hikes, and keep hike attendees and wildlife safe too. Our hikes aim to show attendees bird and wildlife that are often scared off by the scent and sounds of dogs. (Service dogs are welcome at any time.) We occasionally offer a special hike that includes pets; when those opportunities are offered, or if you visit on your own, please keep your pet on a leash and pick up waste.
Upcoming Hikes & Events
Snowshoe Holiday Hike at Clay Cliffs – Friday, December 27 at 10:00 am
Join Conservancy staff Matt Heiman, Sarah Cook, and Leslee Spraggins for a hike of this majestic property. Everyone has been asking about how to access Clay Cliffs! Although you are welcome to explore the property on your own (it is now owned by Leland Township), taking a tour with one of our staff is the best way to see the property at this time because there is no formal trail system or parking area. Snowshoes are highly recommended if there are six or more inches of snow on the ground. The climb may be slippery: walking or ski poles are a good idea. We never know what the weather will bring, so it’s best to be prepared! Please meet at the Leelanau Conservancy office at 105 N. First Street in Leland. We will carpool from the office.
Early Winter at Kehl Lake Natural Area – Friday, December 27 at 1:00 pm
Kehl Lake Natural Area is a gift in any season, but especially so as a respite from holiday hustle and bustle. Join Conservancy Docents Marsha Buehler and Peter Wolcott and enjoy the peace of the winter woods as we walk. Take a deep breath - and keep a lookout for signs of winter wildlife. If there is fresh snow, bring your snowshoes.
Swanson Preserve Hike – Saturday, December 28 at 10:00 am
Join Conservancy Docents JoAnne Gerben, Holly Pharmer, and Sharon Oriel as we walk through the beauty of the Swanson Preserve’s winter landscape. We’ll see the huge white pines, cedars, and tamaracks covered in snow and look for tracks of the preserve’s winter inhabitants. The views at the edge of Little Traverse Lake should be beautiful and serene. Walking through the Swanson Preserve covered in snow is the perfect way to appreciate its ecological importance and natural beauty every season of the year. We hope to see you there.
Visit the Clay Cliffs in Winter – Sunday, January 12 at 1 pm
Enjoy the fantastic views of Lakes Leelanau and Michigan at this stunning location just north of Leland in the quiet of winter. The terrain varies from wooded to open meadows, more woods and then the expansive view of Lake Michigan with the Manitou Islands. On a clear day, Fox Island is also visible.
Bring your snowshoes, hiking poles and be on the lookout for signs of wildlife as you join Conservancy Docents Mary Petterson, Sharon Oriel, Janet Ward, and Peter Wolcott.
Directions: From Leland, drive 2.2 miles north on M-22. Slow down when you pass McLeod Drive. A docent or staff person will be along M-22 to show you the two-track pull-off. If you see the private drive, Yellowbirch Drive, you have gone too far north. There is no formal parking area, so be prepared to drive up a short, bumpy two-track or park on the shoulder of M-22. NOTE: We hope to have a parking area and trails open in the spring of 2014.
Winter Wildlife at Houdek Dunes – Saturday, January 18 at 10:00 am
Conservancy Docents Ann McInnis and Holly Pharmer will lead a guided walk in Houdek Dunes, a 330-acre natural area north of Leland. Come experience winter in Michigan’s North Country and discover clues to the myriad wildlife activities occurring daily in this natural area. We’ll look for evidence of some of the unique species in this place, all of which contribute to the richness of Leelanau’s ecosystems. Snowshoes would be advisable if there is a lot of snow.
Winter on Lighthouse West – Sunday, January 19 at 2:00 pm
Join Conservancy Docents Ed Ketterer and Janet Ward to experience what winter looks and feels like at the tip of the peninsula. Due to its location, Lighthouse West is in what can be characterized as a “high energy” environment. We’ll explore how the effects of winter transform the property, including the shoreline. We’ll also look for signs of winter animal activity. If there’s good snow on the ground on the day of the hike, participants are welcome to bring snowshoes (cross country skis are not recommended for this event).
Chippewa Run: Dressed Up for Winter – Saturday, January 25 at 1:00 pm
Chippewa Run Natural Area in Empire is stunning in dressed up in snow! Join Conservancy Docents Lou Ricord and JoAnne Gerben for a brisk snowshoe: we’ll want to keep moving in the bracing weather, but we will be prepared to answer questions along the way about how animals and plants survive winter in this natural area’s many habitats. The hike will last about an hour. Bring your snowshoes, boots, hats, mittens and winter coats. Please note: Since the parking lot off M-22 will be snowbound, we’ll park and begin the hike at Empire’s recycling center on Fisher St off Lacore St.
DeYoung Snowshoe Hike – Saturday, February 15 at 2:00 pm
Join Conservancy Docents Dave Amos, Lou Ricord and JoAnne Gerben for a hike on the new uplands trails at the DeYoung Farm. This is a great trail for snow shoeing across fields and through woods, with a nice view of the farm and vista to the east. The hike will start and end at the parking spot off of Strang Road. The road is just a ¼ mile north and west of the DeYoung barn and parking is a similar distance once you’ve made the turn onto Strang.
Tracking Adventure at Kehl Lake Natural Area – Sunday, February 16 at 2:00 pm
Did you think nothing goes on in the wintertime in nature? Guess again. Join Conservancy Docents Ann McInnis, Ed Ketterer, and Peter Wolcott for a tracking adventure to discover the myriad wintertime activities of our resident wildlife at Kehl Lake. Read the stories told by tracks and traces, nibbles and nips, sounds and sights–to learn about wildlife survival strategies at this high quality Conservancy natural area. Snowshoes are be advisable if there is a lot of snow.
Houdek Dunes Winter Wonderland – Saturday, February 22 at 1:00 pm
Snap on your snowshoes and head for the hills — the hills of Houdek Dunes, that is! Join us as we enjoy the beauties of a winter wonderland along the paths of Houdek Dunes. See how the snows and winds of winter sculpt the trees and surrounding hills onto an intricate canvas of seasonal forms and colors. The hike will last between 90 minutes and two hours and will include a hilly walk. Join Conservancy Docents Judy Hoeffler, Sharon Oriel and Janet Ward for this hike.