Nature Preserves

The beauty of lakes country abounds! Wing Haven Nature Preserve, part of the nonprofit organization ACRES Land Trust, is open to outdoor enthusiasts daily. A historic log building on the site where local artist Helen Swenson housed her art studio is open for special events.

One of 12 ACRES preserves in Steuben County, Wind Haven is ideal for hiking, birding, nature study and photography. Located off State Road 127 at 180 W. 400 N., Wing Havennaturepreserves1 has glacially carved kettle lakes and a wetland fen system.

The following preserves are open daily, dawn to dusk, for hiking. For a complete listing, visit https://acreslandtrust.org/preserves/ 

Marion's Woods, ACRES' newest area preserve, is nestled between residential neighborhoods in Angola. A half-mile trail loops through a mature woods of oak, hickory and black cherry. The preserve is located at 805 Calvary Lane.

Adjacent to Pokagon State Park, Beechwood Nature Reserve is located near Little Otter Lake at 5145 N. State Road 127 in Fremont. It has a mixture of lakes country habitats, including a beech-maple forest, rolling meadows and a fen. A good choice for a longer hike, the nearly two miles of rolling trails connect to Pokagon's trail system. Two other small preserves, Foster and Majneri Nature Preserves, are also accessible from Beechwood.

High ridges of woodland surround a small glacial lake at Ropchan Memorial Nature Preserve. Located two miles east of Orland at 6830 N. 750 W., the 1.5 mile trail skirts a low wetland area and has a variety of birds and wildflowers.

naturepreserves2Similarly-named Ropchan Wildlife Refuge is south of Fremont at 4990 N. State Road 827. The 3.5 miles of trails travel through an oak-hickory forest, fields in different stages of succession and the wetlands surrounding Cemetery Lake. The wildlife and birds are as varied as the habitat.

The Brammall Nature Preserve features portions of Pigeon Lake and Pigeon Creek and all of Pigeon Pond. Located east of Angola at 2630 E. U.S. 20, the preserve's 1.5

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 miles of trails pass through rolling meadows and wetland forests. There are opportunities to spot wildlife such as white-tailed deer and wild turkeys. The adjacent Richard Bruner Nature Preserve is accessible by canoe. 

Hamilton has two ACRES preserves. With a panoramic view of Ball Lake, Robb Hidden Canyon Nature Preserve has a steep-sided ravine with a clear stream running through it, almost two miles of trails and a variety of birds and wildflowers. The preserve is located at 425 Lane 201 Ball Lake. On

 the north side of the lake, explore Ball Lake Nature Preserve at 180 Lane 101 Ball Lake. It features a low wetland forest with marsh marigold and skunk cabbage along the quarter-mile track. 

Other areas that are ideal for hiking include the Pigeon River State Fish & Wildlife Area located south of Orland and south of State Road 120, west of State Road 327 North on naturepreserves3County Road 300 North. The Anspaugh Wildlife Habitat Trust Area is open to the public on a limited basis. The 80-acre tract on Look Lake south of County Road 100 Northwest of Loon Lake public access off Landis Road includes lowland woods, wet meadows, shrub wetlands and lake frontage.

The Clear Lake Township Land Conservancy has a variety of properties around the lake. Visit www.clearlakeconservancy.org

Vistula Park, located behind the Fremont Public Library off State Road 120, features 56 acres, with nearly half in a natural state. There’s a 10-foot wide pavedt

rail which meanders through a high-quality woodland and wetland complex. The 2.1 mile Fish Creek Trail in Hamilton is accessed on the south side of Bellefontaine Road, across from Gnagy Park.