New Trail at Kehl Lake Natural Area

From our 2006 Fall Newsletter

Our “Old Birch Trail” at Kehl Lake Natural Area is completed! This summer, the Stewardship crew and volunteers cleared a beautiful new three-quarter-mile trail at our 180-acre KLNA, located just north of Northport.

A bit of background: We’ve owned much of this land since 1990, and acquired an additional 40 acres just a few years ago. The older trails here are gentle and meandering—great for an easy hike or cross-country ski. Wildlife abounds at this Natural Area because of its outstanding habitat. Lowland coniferous forest, northern hardwoods, open fields, wetlands and 2500 feet of shoreline on Kehl Lake itself provide rich homes for deer, amphibians and fish. Its close proximity to Lake Michigan also makes it part of a critical flyway for migrating birds crossing to and from the upper peninsula.

In order for the public to access and enjoy new areas of this Natural Area, careful trail design was necessary to limit impact on wetlands. “Using soil maps, GPS, and much on-the-ground exploration, we came up with a trail loop that will allow the public to visit previously unseen parts of this amazing landscape,” says Stewardship Director Jeneé Rowe. This new trail features moderate, winding terrain. A hand-built bridge brings visitors from the lakeshore trail across the wetlands feeding Kehl Lake and into the hardwoods and fields in the upland sections of the property. Other sections of the trail were cut into the slope of the hill by our hearty volunteers to prevent erosion.

Conservancy Docents will lead hikes on the new Old Birch Trail this fall and winter (see the Programs part of our website). Look for a large map located in the kiosk at the trailhead. The new trail is marked with green markers and signs to help visitors find their way. We hope you can visit soon!

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