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Narrows Natural Area

Narrows Natural Area at a Glance

Features: birding, canoeing, guided tours, kayaking, lake frontage, no trails, best viewed from canoe or kayak, wildflowers

Acreage: 71

Year Preserved: 2001

Trail: no trail system, best seen from the water


Trail Map
Guided Hikes


This iconic wetland that joins North and South Lake Leelanau is perhaps one of Leelanau’s most viewed landmarks, seen from the bridge on M-204 and by boaters who traverse the channel. The Conservancy recognized early on that the Narrows, one of the finest remaining emergent wetland complexes on the lake, must be protected. Over 10 years three important parcels were acquired, including the Leugers Preserve. The most recent acquisition was the site of a proposed 80-slip marina. Precious, intact wetlands and 2,350 feet of shoreline provide important fish and bird habitat. Raptors nest here and numerous grasses provide abundant wildlife habitat.

Leelanau Narrows Access

There is no trail system on this property. It is best viewed by boat.


Located in the heart of Lake Leelanau Village, the Narrows is an integral part of the town’s character. When the marina was proposed here, the community rallied to preserve these precious wetlands. The Lake Leelanau Lake Association was instrumental helping to raise enough money for the Leelanau Conservancy to purchase 21 acres in 2001.

Two years later, another opportunity arose to protect an additional 45 acres and 640 feet of shoreline just north of the aforementioned 21 acres. Known as the Hutchinson property, the additional 45 acres features a hardwood forest, lowland swamp and meadow – along with all that beautiful shoreline. An ecological powerhouse, the Hutchinson lands tripled the size of the wetlands complex already under our wing. The filtration capacity of these extensive wetlands is crucial to maintaining the lake’s water quality. We completed that project in 2003 with the help of grants and private donations.

Now, as the many boaters pass through this Narrows between North and South Lake Leelanau, they can be assured that part of this shoreline is preserved forever.


Over 2,000 feet of protected shoreline

Wetland birds, rare plants, and other unique wildlife

Over 120 plant species have been identified in this extraordinary wetland complex

Site of historic lumbermill

Plants at Narrows Natural Area

Narrows FQA and Summary is available here. The FQA, or Floristic Quality Assessment, tells the story of the types and quality of flora at Narrows Natural Area.

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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.