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Little Forks Conservancy

Access for All – Averill Preserve

Imagine not being able to stand on the banks of the Tittabawassee River and watch a bald eagle swoop by — or not crossing the path of a turtle meandering along as you explore a trail.

Many people in our community can’t enjoy those sights at Little Forks Conservancy’s Averill Preserve because they aren’t physically able to hike the grass or crushed gravel trails.

“Visitors who enjoy Midland County Parks’ new accessible parking area and shelter on the boundary of the Averill Preserve may not be able to experience this beautiful preserve just steps away,” said Board President Jon DeGroot.

Thanks to donations from local foundations and members like you, Little Forks Conservancy is about to change that. 

Averill Project Plan

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“We’re excited to announce plans for our first universally-accessible trail at the Averill Preserve,” said Jon.

The new hard surface trail will enable people with wheelchairs or families with strollers to easily explore the beautiful, historic preserve.

As part of this project:

  • The decade-old crushed stone at the overlook will be replaced with an asphalt path.
  • A new concrete viewing area will provide an exceptional view of the Tittabawassee River.
  • Approximately 1,000 feet of paved trail will lead visitors from the overlook into the preserve.
  • A nature play area will empower kids use nature to feed their imaginations.

Jon added, “We believe that this project will add to County Parks’ investment and create an inviting experience for all visitors to these properties.”

river-dogs-at-lumberjack-days-in-edenville-c-1930sOnce the largest timber banking grounds in the world, the property has been restored over many years to its current state.

“Of all our properties, the Averill Preserve has been the most impacted by previous uses of the land,” said Elan Lipschitz, director of land conservation. “I’m very excited about some of the opportunities for habitat restoration we have planned along the new trail.”

This project was made possible by the generous support of:

  • Bay Area Community Foundation
  • Consumers Energy Foundation
  • The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation
  • The Dow Chemical Company Foundation
  • The Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation
  • Midland Area Community Foundation
    • Access to Recreation Fund
    • Dow Corning Donor Advised Fund
    • Foundation-Directed Grant Funds
  • Patti and Dave Kepler Foundation
  • Consumers Energy Foundation
  • Saginaw Bay WIN
  • The Charles J. Strosacker Foundation