View all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

Soper Natural Area

Soper Natural Area at a Glance

Features: critical area, off limits--contact Conservancy for more info.

Acreage: 80

Year Preserved: 1991


Guided Hikes

Critical Area—off limits—Preserved in 1991

A Fragile Wetland Host for Lady Slippers and More

Edna Soper donated 42 acres in 1991 in honor of her late husband, James C. Soper, to ensure the survival of the lady slippers that can be prolific here. In 1995, observers counted at least 1,000 showy lady slippers at Soper Natural Area near Northport. In 2002, only six flowers bloomed. We are fairly sure that changes in the water table determine the comings and goings of this treasured spring beauty. Meanwhile, a wealth of other wild flowers live in Soper’s cedar swamp: twinflower, toothwort, and trailing arbutus. Local trees include red maple, birch, willow, and the blistery-barked balsam fir.

The Conservancy is actively managing this natural area to restore the showy lady slipper population. During this management period, we ask that you respect the fragile nature of this area and not visit.

In 2008, 38 acres were added. Plans for trails on the new property are in the works.

Plants at Soper Natural Area

Click here to learn more about Soper Natural Area High Quality Plant Species. A  Soper FQA and Summary is available here. It tells the story of the types and quality of flora at Soper Preserve.