Krumwiede Forest Reserve
If you are looking for a great hiking/snowshoeing/cross country skiing trail, then the Krumwiede Forest Reserve off Wheeler Road near Glen Arbor should be on your list of places to visit.
The 1.8 mile trail here follows a gated forestry road and makes a gradual, gentle ascent up along an impressive ridge, making a large loop until returning visitors to the valley below. Midway up the ascent, you can take the narrow footpath which follows the top of the ridge before reconnecting to the forestry road loop. Along the way, you’ll see a working, sustainable forest that features everything from an invasive black locust grove that the Conservancy is working to eradicate to mature northern hardwoods of all ages, including portions that will remain un-harvested. This is a woodland trail that is especially beautiful after a heavy snowfall, or in the fall when the colors are at their peak. One caveat; the trek down the back side is much steeper than the gentle ascent.
Located in the western part of Cleveland Township, much of the 110-acre Krumwiede Forest Reserve consists of a glacial moraine forming the high ridge between two very scenic wooded and pastoral valleys: Starvation Valley, an ancient glacial drainage channel which forms the course for Wheeler Road; and Bohemian Valley, the more fertile farmland to the east along Co. Rd. 669. The Krumwiede ridge is part of the magnificent wooded hills visible to travelers as they look south from M-22 while passing through the historic Port Oneida district. “With the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore less than a mile away in three different directions, this property in its natural, forested condition contributes immensely to the ecological integrity of both Leelanau County and to the National Lakeshore,” says Director Brian Price.
Krumwiede is the first forest reserve of its kind for the Leelanau Conservancy. What is a Forest Reserve? It is land that is actively being managed as a sustainable, healthy forestland that is periodically harvested for timber. Back in 1997, when Bob and Gerry Krumwiede donated a conservation easement on the land, it was the largest easement to date. The family had farmed in the valley portion of the land and recognized the importance of preserving high quality working forests. They reserved the right then to manage the forest as a commercial timberland, under a forest management plan approved by the Conservancy.
The Krumwiede family maintained ownership of the land until 2007, when they donated the land outright to the Leelanau Conservancy. “Our forest reserves are managed to maintain and improve the biological diversity and forest ecosystem processes while producing timber in a manner that meets Michigan’s best management practices,” says Jenee Rowe, the Conservancy’s Director of Conserved Lands. “Our management will focus on protecting water quality, wildlife habitat, and restoring native ecological communities while allowing for commercial harvests that promote the concept of sustainable forestry practices and planning.”
“The Krumwiede’s had great forethought in preserving this land for future generations,” adds Price. “They also have helped to protect a variety of wildlife habitat and one of Leelanau’s most scenic landscapes on the doorstep of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.”