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Hatlem Creek Preserve

Hatlem Creek Preserve at a Glance

Features: birding, easy, flat terrain, hiking, stream(s), wildflowers

Acreage: 72

Year Preserved: 2011

Trail: no trail system, best seen on a guided hike

Guided Hikes

Hatlem Creek is the prime tributary flowing into Glen Lake and has long been a priority for protection.

The creek and the sensitive wetlands surrounding it provide an important source of fresh water to Glen Lake and the Preserve shelters over ½ mile of stream frontage. The federally endangered Michigan Monkey Flower grows in the area, thriving in wet, mucky soils where cool waters flow. Hatlem Creek is also a wildlife haven; red-shouldered hawk nest in the closed forest canopy and trout and salmon spawn in the stream. A rare bubbling marl spring, 100 square feet in size, is a must-see natural feature. The property consists of mesic northern forest, hardwood conifer swamp, northern hardwood swamp, and northern wet meadow communities.

Late in 2017, we purchased 32 acres located nearby along Hatlem Creek from the Waldenmyer family. The purchase expands this lovely preserve and will forever protect more of this fragile creek. At this time there are no trails on the new addition, but do watch this space for updates to come!

Trail System

There are no formal walking trails, however, there is an easy flat walk that follows an old logging road.


Getting there: It is located 6 miles east of Empire on Plowman Road, ¾ of a mile south of Big Glen Lake and within a ½ mile from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Click here for a map to the property from M-72 or M-22


A rare bubbling marl spring

Home to the federally endangered Michigan Monkey Flower

Plants at Hatlem Creek

A Hatlem Creek FQA and Summary is available here. The FQA, or Floristic Quality Assessment, tells the story of the types and quality of flora at Hatlem Creek Preserve.

Delve Deeper

For more information about Hatlem Creek Preserve check out these articles and links:

Get Involved

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Safety & Hunting

Poison Ivy is commonly found on impacted areas. Keep an eye out for this three leafed groundcover for it can give you an itchy rash. If your skin comes in contact with ivy, wash that area with soap a.s.a.p. Stay on the trails to reduce risk of contact.

THIS AREA IS OPEN TO HUNTING with written permission from the Leelanau Conservancy from October 1st – December 30 to reduce an unnaturally high white-tail deer population.   Too many deer threaten wildflowers and tree seedlings. Please use caution when hiking during hunting season, wear orange and keep dogs on a leash.