Fall hiking tour planned at Madeline Bertrand County Park

NILES — Southwest Michigan trees are putting on their annual color display as the temperatures begin to drop for the fall. A chance to learn a little more about local Madeline Bertrand County Park, while enjoying the fall foliage, will be hosted at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21.

The fall walk will be led by Love Creek Nature Center Parks Naturalist Lamanda Hilty.

Hilty will be taking attendees on a hike of the park’s trails, beginning at the visitor center at the park. The hike will last between 60 to 90 minutes, and cover 2 to 2.5 miles. Social distancing and COVID-19 precautions will be followed, according to Berrien County Parks communications.

“If the weather is nice, we may come across an eastern box turtle or garter snake basking in the sun,” Hilty said. “That is always exciting.”

Madeline Bertrand County Park, located at 3038 Adams Road, Niles, is 120 acres, with five miles of hiking trails, according to the park’s Facebook page.

“The park was originally a Christmas tree farm in the late 1950s, then developed as a campground in 1984 to 1985,” Hilty said.

After its transformation into a camp ground, it transitioned into the county park it is known as today, with views of the St. Joseph River, hiking and cross-country skiing trails, and an 18-hole disc golf course.

In her position as a naturalist, Hilty focuses on environmental education. She enjoys working with school groups and leading hikes and outings. She leads the Berrien County Birding Club, which meets one to two times a week, making her even more knowledgeable about which birds may be seen or heard during seasonal walks and hikes.

She is also responsible for trail maintenance and caring for the live animals at Love Creek.

She has been with Love Creek Nature Center for five years, and has a degree in environmental biology.

“Something I enjoy about Madeline Bertrand is the diversity in the park,” she said. “Not only are there several recreational activities available, but there is a wide variety of trees, spring wildflower and plants as well. There is a nice variation of ecosystems that provides great habitat for wildlife.”

The walk on Oct. 21 will begin at the park’s visitors center at 10:30 a.m. Participating in the guided walking tour in the park is free, though Madeline Bertrand County Park has an entrance fee of $3, unless entrants have a county park pass.

Hilty has helped lead this walk in the past.

“Every hike is a little different depending on weather, fall color and group size,” Hilty said.

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Niles’ Reske takes home Cass County cat show title

Berrien County

Berrien County commissioners pass resolution supporting Indiana Michigan River Valley Trail project

Dowagiac

Dowagiac schools make masks optional for students, staff

Dowagiac

Ascension Borgess Lee Foundation golf outing raises $19,000

Cass County

Two injured in Howard Township crash

Cass County

Cass County Fair hosts Law Enforcement Day

Berrien County

Heroin, meth, firearms seized during search warrants in Niles, Buchanan

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Niles teen takes home three first place wins in Cass County Fair youth horse, pony show

Dowagiac

PHOTO STORY: Dowagiac Police Department hosts National Night Out event

Berrien County

Junior Achievement of Berrien, Cass counties announces Tapas on the Green event

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: NTPA Tractor Pull wows crowd at Cass County Fair

News

Niles Riverfest begins Thursday

Cass County

Cass County Conservation district announces 2020 awards

Berrien County

Spectrum Health Lakeland Foundation awards $75,000 in scholarships, grants

Giving

Niles church nearing fundraising goal for new community playground

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 906,538 cases, 19,947 deaths

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Dowagiac’s Stockwell named champion swine showman at Cass County Fair

Berrien County

Registration now open for Lory’s Place Run, Walk, and Rock

Berrien County

BCF Arts Challenge seeking support for Berrien County arts venues

Berrien County

Community members encouraged to donate blood, save lives

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: July 28-Aug. 2

News

Niles Township reconsiders document scanning project, rescinds special meeting vote

Giving

Niles church to host Family Fun Fest Saturday

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Niles’ Tharp wins Cass County Youth Dairy Show