Trillium Ravine, Niles and Dowagiac Woods, Dowagiac with Michigan Nature Association stewards Harold Gleaves and Dave Wendling..
Michigan Nature Association (MNA) acquired Trillium Ravine Plant Preserve in 1983. It is approximately 15 acres in size on the upper part of a sloping wooded ravine but easily navigable. The area is dominated by sugar maples; there are also elm, sycamore, beech, paw paw and hackberry trees. The soil is sandy loam. In the spring is populated with Trillium recurvatum and Trillium sessile, both state threatened, with some Trillium grandifolum. There’s also Solomon Seal, Squirrel Corn, Dutchman’s Breeches and yellow Trout Lily. Nodding pogonia, Triphora trianthophora was present in the preserve in August of 2012.
The 384-acre Dowagiac Woods Nature Sanctuary is considered a “crown jewel” of MNA’s sanctuaries. More than fifty species of wildflowers carpet the forest floor. Since the woods has been minimally disturbed (never plowed, pastured, or clear cut) it is regarded as a high-quality example of southern mesic forest, thus serving as a living museum of how this forest looked prior to settlement. The large size of the property, the lack of disturbance, and its matrix of floodplain, southern-mesic forest and hardwood swamp are essential in maintaining the ecological diversity of the woods. The easily navigable 1.5-mile loop trail allows visitors to observe the sights and sounds Dowagiac Woods has to offer. The path is complete with boardwalks over seasonally wet areas, as well as benches for visitors to relax and take in the beauty. There will be muddy areas along the trail so dress appropriately.
Harold Gleaves is a volunteer conservation steward for Trillium Ravine and Brewer Woods, both Michigan Nature Association Preserves. He has a BS in Biology 2014, and is a certified Master Gardener and beekeeper. Married to Kathy, they live on 15 acres in Lawton, Mi.
Dave Wendling, a retired Family Physician, is the President of the MBC, SW Chapter. He is a long time MNA member, current President of the MBC Southwestern Chapter, and a steward for Dowagiac Woods. An amateur botanist his main interests are Michigan Ferns and Bryophytes.
Trillium Ravine: approx. address 2500 Riverside Dr., Niles 49120 The Ravine is easily accessed from the west side of Riverside Drive in Niles Township, about 1 hour 10 minutes from Kalamazoo. Take I-94 west to Exit 30 and pick up US-31south towards Niles. Take Exit 7 for Walton Rd and turn left on Walton Rd and go about 0.4 mi and turn right on Geyer Rd which curves and becomes Riverside Dr and continue about 0.5 miles to the sanctuary on the left. It is well marked. Limited street parking available; carpooling is encouraged.
Dowagiac Woods approx. address 32079 Frost St., Dowagiac 49047 Dowagiac Woods is about 20 minutes from Trillium Ravine near Dowagiac Michigan. Take Riverside/Geyer back to Walton Rd and turn right. Go about 2 miles to M-139 (Old 31) and turn right. Go about 2 miles to Ullery Rd and go about 1.4 miles to Pucker St. which crosses the river to M-51 N, take a left toward Dowagiac. Go about 8 miles and take a left on Peavine St. In half a mile turn right on California Rd for one mile to Frost Rd. Turn left on Frost St and go about 1 mile to Dowagiac Woods on the right at the small parking lot.
Suggested you bring a lunch as outing will run into early afternoon.
Car pool rides available from the I-94 Mattawan exit. The Park & Ride lot is on the NW corner, by the Speedway. Dave Wendling will be there. Leaving lot at 8:50 AM. Maps will be provided.