Fall is a gorgeous time to explore Little Forks Conservancy’s nature preserves. You can enjoy the last lingering autumn leaves. You may also see wildlife like porcupines more easily.
Many people cut back on hiking during this time because of hunting season. But, hiking during hunting season can be just as enjoyable as any other time of year! Here are a few tips to help you discover our trails in the fall.
1. When is hunting season?
Although many of us are most familiar with deer hunting season, there are actually a number of hunting seasons in Michigan. You can see the full list of hunting season dates by clicking here.
2. Is there hunting on the preserves?
Little Forks Conservancy does not allow hunting on any of our Midland County preserves currently. That means you can enjoy hiking at the Averill Preserve, Forestview Natural Area, and Riverview Natural Area. However, the Albert and Virginia Szok Preserve is located within Pine Haven Recreation Area which does allow hunting. If you’re planning on visiting the Szok Preserve, please be aware that hunting may be occurring in the area. Our new preserve in Gladwin County has bow hunting only. Contact the office for an application.
3. Is there hunting nearby at the other preserves?
Yes, some of our neighbors do hunt their properties. For your safety, please stay on the trail and obey any “No Trespassing” signs. Also, please respect neighboring hunters by minimizing loud noises or disturbing wildlife.
4. Do I have to wear orange?
Wearing a bright orange hat or vest is a great way to make sure you’re seen by hunters! Since they wear it themselves, they will know that means you’re there. If you’re walking your dog, make sure he or she remains on a leash – and you can also pick up an orange vest for your dog at local pet supply stores!
If you’re out during dawn or dusk when light is dim, a headlamp or flashlight is also recommended.
5. What if I encounter a hunter?
If you see a hunter on a Little Forks Conservancy preserve, contact our office at 989.835.4886.
You may see hunters along the preserve boundary. If you do, quietly continue along the trail within the preserve.
If you follow these tips, you should be able to safely enjoy a great hike at one of Little Forks’ preserves! If you encounter any problems or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office at 989.835.4886 or email Sara.
This year we are taking some time to get out into the preserves with the community. Whether it is to learn about a creature or plant in the preserve or to share the unique beauty of each preserve with community members.
May 17th 6:00pm — Wildflowers at Szok with Chippewa Nature Center- join Interpretive Naturalist Jeanne Henderson from the Chippewa Nature Center for a hike to observe the native wildflowers!
May 24th 5:00pm — Vernal Pool Hike at Riverview Natural Area with Sara – Join Sara at Riverview to hike the first loop and explore the vernal pools near the trail. Sara will go into the importance of the vernal pools and which animals rely on them to survive. Wear waterproof boots.
June 19th 6:30pm — Dog Hike at Riverview Natural Area – Meet Little Forks Staff members and their dogs! We invite community members to have a puppy play date and hike through Riverview. We ask to keep dogs on a leash during this hike. People without dogs are welcome to join as well.
June 28th 7:00pm — Sunset Hike and Campfire with AmeriCorps Member Ted at Riverview Natural Area – Meet Ted at the Riverview north entrance off of 5 Mile Road where he will lead a hike near sunset and end with a campfire where he will share stories of backpacking adventures and others are welcome to share their adventure stories with the group. Bring a chair/blanket, flash light or headlamp.
July 19th 6:30pm — Senior Services Social at Averill Preserve with Andrea- Join Senior Services and Little Forks Conservancy for a walk along the new trail. Contact Andrea for more details.
July 21st 10:30am — Salamander Hike at Riverview Natural Area with Interpretive Naturalist Michelle Fournier from the Chippewa Nature Center to look under logs and learn how to use the app Herp Atlas!
July 25th 5:00pm — Averill Preserve Hike – Join Little Forks Staff to see the completed all access path and all the new features.
August 11th 10am Ferns & Fungi at Forestview Natural Area with Chippewa Nature Center- join Interpretive Naturalist Jeanne Henderson from the Chippewa Nature Center for a hike to observe the variety of ferns and fungus growing at Forestview
September 13th 6:00pm — Tour the New Preserve in Gladwin County! – Come take a look at the newest preserve at Little Forks Conservancy. A staff member will show you the progress so far and what to look forward to in the coming years.
October 19th 5:00pm — Fall Color Hike at Forestview Natural Area- As the weather cools off, join us at Forestview to take in all the fall foliage.
Little Forks hopes the entire community will get out to the preserves for at least one of these hikes and finds something new to enjoy right outside of the city.