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This site contains a well-developed network of trails, boardwalks, and observation platforms along Finch Creek and the Grass River. The trails showcase beautiful scenery and wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities starting in upland forests, leading along stream corridors, then down into tamarack swamps and sedge meadows along the river. These trails are very good for cross-country skiing. Winter is an excellent time to see tracks of deer, snowshoe hare, fox, coyote, and bobcat. Portions of the trail are barrier free.
Great-horned and barred owls are common throughout this area. You can hear them hooting at night almost year round. Bald eagles nest in large trees on the Grass River and they are seen frequently during the summer. Many species of warblers nest on the area as well and stop to feed on the area during spring and fall migration. Loons nest on nearby Clam Lake. Since the trails cross through a diversity of habitats, they provide for ideal bird watching opportunities. Bring a canoe and float quietly along the wetlands of the Grass River down to Clam Lake. You may see a variety of aquatic wildlife on your trip, including river otters, muskrats, mink, and waterfowl. A seasonal interpretive center is open from mid-June through Labor Day, and guided hikes are available. Call ahead for availability and ask for a copy of the interpretive trail brochure. Of the site’s 1,143 acres, 223 acres are closed to hunting and 920 acres are open to hunting and fishing.
Portions of this area are open to public hunting. Contact the michigan department of natural resources for affected seasons and locations.
From Mancelona, drive west on M-88. After 2.5 miles, M-88 turns sharply to the right (north). Do not follow it. Instead, continue driving west on Country Road 618 for about 6 miles. The site entrance is on the right side of the road, about 1/2 mile west of Comfort Road.
Ownership: Antrim County, managed by the Grass River Natural Area, Inc. (231) 533-8314
Size: 1,143 acres
Closest Towns: Alden and Bellaire
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