Wednesday, April 25, 2018

5 Nature Trails to Explore in the Blue Water Area

As Michigan’s earth begins to flush with color again, the bright vegetation and spring breezes are a refreshing boost in the Blue Water Area.  If you are ready to get outside and enjoy the natural wonders that sprout on this beautiful planet, along with a few man-made additions that make it a little easier on us humans, here are 5 nature trails to check out this spring:

Fort Gratiot Bike Path & Nature Preserve – Keewahdin Road, Fort Gratiot

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You’d never guess this nature preserve is a stone’s throw from one of the busiest commercial corridors in the Blue Water Area (one entrance is right behind Meijer in Fort Gratiot).  This park is easily accessible and once you’re there, the buzz of traffic fades away to the hum of nature in its glory.  The nature preserve expands across 90 acres of woodland, ponds, wetlands and trails.  The wide, paved walking path takes visitors along serenely wooded terrain and makes a complete loop around the large pond.  The pond is a fond spot for swans and birds, plus it’s open for catch-and-release fishing.  An observation deck lets visitors lean over for a closer look at the fish, frogs, turtles and other active pond species.
Walking Terrain: paved path
Distance: 3.7 miles

Chrysler Beach Riverfront – River Road, Marysville

This riverfront park and trail weaves along the St. Clair River waterfront.  Its living shoreline means that instead of a seawall along the water, there is cobble, rocks and aquatic plants that provide a habitat in which fish can live and spawn.  Native plants are now flourishing here and have encouraged the return of natural wildlife.  A gazebo and several seating areas make for good resting spots and give walkers a chance to enjoy the river view and perhaps the passing freighter traffic.  The dazzling blue of the St. Clair River plus the fresh green plants waking from their winter slumber are sure to get your blood pumping and ready for a spring adventure.
Walking Terrain: concrete and composite wood path
Distance: 1+ miles

BP Dome Petroleum Nature Trail – Fred Moore Highway, St. Clair

This trail was established especially for pleasant walks through woods and along the Pine River.  When you’re ready for a rest, take a pit stop at Turtle Beach where there’s a pavilion and lounging spot alongside the peaceful river.  River wildlife is abundant here, so keep an eye out for turtles, ducks, fish mink and maybe a kayaker or two. 
Terrain: dirt path
Distance: 2.5 miles

Backus Nature Trail – Harbor Beach

This is a great trail for a peaceful walk through the woods.  Watch for wildlife and appreciate the mature forest’s tall trees and vibrant plant life.  The path meanders through wooded areas and features boardwalks and bridges over the natural stream that runs through the woods.  The trail connects to the Harbor View Trail which is a paved, two-mile stretch of path linking the northern part of town to the marina and downtown.  The Backus Nature Trail was created in memory of PFC Brian Backus who lost his life in 2011 while serving in the United States Army.  A gazebo is expected to be completed this summer on the east side of the trail, honor all military service members.
Walking Terrain: grass and mulch path, wooden bridges
Distance: 2+ miles

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