New 40-acre nature preserve to open in Niles Charter Township

Published 11:51 am Tuesday, December 12, 2023

CHARTER TOWNSHIP — A new outdoor space is on the way for area residents to enjoy.

Chikaming Open Lands acquired a new nature preserve in Niles Charter Township on Friday Dec. 8. Situated in the St. Joseph River Watershed, the 40-acre forested property is  adjacent to another protected natural area, Trillium Ravine Plant Preserve, which is owned and  managed by Michigan Nature Association. 

Located on Riverside Road a few miles northwest of downtown Niles, the new property will be  named Trillium Woodlands Preserve and will be open to the public for outdoor recreation.

“With  its high-quality forest and wetland areas, as well as the abundant spring wildflowers that give the  Preserve its name, this is a really spectacular property,” said COL Executive Director Ryan  Postema. “One of our priorities as an organization is to increase our impact by expanding our  conservation efforts to the eastern reaches of Berrien County,” added Postema. “That gave us all  the more reason to jump at the opportunity to preserve it.”

Trillium Woodlands Preserve is  COL’s first nature preserve in Niles Charter Township. 

COL expects to develop a trail system through the Preserve in the next year, to expand and  connect with the existing trail loop in the adjoining Trillium Ravine Plant Preserve. Other future  plans will include the construction of a gravel parking area to provide improved access to the  Preserves and installation of trail signage and markers. 

Chikaming Open Lands is the local land conservancy dedicated to preserving the open spaces  and natural rural character of southern Berrien County. COL works to protect and restore native  plant and animal habitat, improve water quality, and permanently preserve ecologically  significant forests, prairies and wetlands, as well as prime farmland and other open spaces in this  area. COL serves 12 townships in Berrien County, and has been instrumental in preserving more  than 2,200 acres of open space since its founding in 1999.