Mt. Pleasant is blessed to have nearby access to a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities and natural areas. In addition to our incredible city and county park systems, the lesser known Chippewa Watershed Conservancy (CWC) (www.chippewawatershedconservancy.org) manages 19 nature preserves in the mid-Michigan region. I’d like to focus on three of our signature preserves during my next few blog takeover entries – all within a 20 minute drive of the city proper. We don’t encourage access to most of our other preserves due to their smaller size and ecosystem sensitivity.
But first, let me talk about the CWC and its noble mission. Based out of Mt. Pleasant, the CWC exists to permanently protect natural open space and wildlife habitat, provide passive recreational opportunities, and facilitate natural environment education. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization that protects land in the five county region of the Chippewa River Watershed – namely Isabella, Clare, Montcalm, Mecosta and Gratiot counties.
As previously mentioned, we manage 19 nature preserves in the central Michigan region that we have ownership of. Additionally, we are responsible for managing 32 conservation easements which are essentially agreements we have with private landowners to not develop their property in order to protect it as natural space. In exchange, landowners receive tax break incentives. These lands are privately held and are not publicly accessible.
One of our premier nature preserves is Halls Lake Natural Area. Comprising three adjacent preserves, this scenic natural area protects over 150 contiguous acres of forested land along the shoreline of Halls Lake – a 56 acre lake just west of Mt. Pleasant off of M-20. There are over two miles of trail here that are perfect for a winter hike, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing. There is also a primitive access point to the lake which is suitable for canoes or kayaks. This access point, which was created from an old beaver dam, also provides access for ice fishing. It should be noted that mechanized and motorized use on our preserves is prohibited.
Directions to Halls Lake Natural Area can be found here: https://www.google.com/maps/dir//43.5811722,-firstname.lastname@example.org,-85.0580083,17z/data=!4m5!1m4!3m3!1s0x0:0x0!2zNDPCsDM0JzUyLjIiTiA4NcKwMDMnMjguOCJX!3b1
I hope to see you on the trails!
Jon Breithaupt is an employee at Chippewa Watershed Conservancy. He is a senior at Central Michigan University studying park and recreation administration with a concentration in outdoor and environmental recreation. Jon loves hiking, mountain biking, and fishing in the central Michigan area.