The Red Cedar River Floodplain in Williamston was dedicated this Saturday.
Sanctuary Bio: 10 Acres, Ingham County, City of Williamston
It is very uncommon for MNA to acquire land within the boundaries of a city. In fact, we only have five such sanctuaries in the state. Land within cities is usually far too expensive and too degraded to be plausible for an MNA nature sanctuary. Of four previous nature sanctuaries within city limits, three, Helmer Brook, Alice Moore Woods and Dauner-Martin, exist because of the generous donation of the land on which they sit. The fourth Twin Waterfalls was purchased because of the value of the two waterfalls. They are all rare in that they have retained their natural character despite their proximity to urban areas. In only the fifth such case in our history, a generous couple donated a ten-acre piece of ridge and floodplain habitat along the Red Cedar River within the city limits of Williamston in mid-Michigan. Doug and Darlene Price of Williamston want to preserve this portion of their land for the surrounding residents and the general public to enjoy.
Doug and his engineer, Dave Geyer, worked with MNA to protect important parts of this habitat by changing the original plans for development of surrounding oldfield. The number of lots was reduced and the area to be preserved expanded to include much of the valuable floodplain ridge. This inclusion of the high ridge will help protect the integrity of the floodplain and give visitors a place to hike during spring flooding.
The ten-acre area is surprisingly intact considering it has been so close to Williamston, and it is full of native wetland species such as marsh marigold, blue flag iris, skunk cabbage, jewelweed and blue beech. The floodplain ridge is home to large black cherry and red oak with spring beauty and wood anemone growing under these towering trees. Another wonderful aspect of this area is that this stretch of the Red Cedar River has not been channelized like so many riparian areas around the state. The river still exists as it did when settlers first traveled down the narrow trail that is now Grand River Avenue from Detroit to Muskegon.