Getting your feet wet: Red Cedar River Plant Preserve

Though natural flooding had hikers treading lightly, the sanctuary also had plants, wildlife and the sounds of the meandering Red Cedar River--Photos by Kimberly Hirai

They call them floodplains for a reason—water from the rising Red Cedar River made treading lightly on the plant preserve’s boardwalk an understatement May 17.

Though the event halted one intern’s hiking venture further into Michigan Nature Association’s sanctuary near Williamston, the floodplain and the preserve’s location near town make it unique. The site is one of five sanctuaries located within city limits.

Nestled between two neighborhoods, the preserve shows the challenges and successes that come when city and natural lands meet. The floodplain and accompanying ridge were donated by Doug and Darlene Price.  Doug, along with engineer Dave Geyer, worked with MNA to protect important parts of the habitat by changing development plans for the surrounding upland.

A red-winged blackbird in Red Cedar River Plant Preserve.

Those plans included protection of the ridge to preserve the river’s floodplain below.

Now, native wetland species found in this area include marsh marigold, blue flag iris, skunk cabbage, jewelweed and blue beech.

The ridge above the river is home to large black cherry and red oak. On the trip, a red-winged black bird flew upriver and perched on a tree branch.

Visit the Red Cedar River Floodplain:

Take I-96 to the Williamston exit and turn right on Williamston Road/Putnam  Street.

Go through the stop light in downtown Williamston and turn right onto Church Street, which turns into Rowley Road.

From Rowley Road, turn right onto Cedar Ridge Drive.

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About Michigan Nature Association

The Michigan Nature Association is a non-profit organization that has been dedicated to preserving Michigan’s natural heritage since 1952. MNA protects more than 10,000 acres of land in over 170 nature sanctuaries throughout the state of Michigan, from the tip of Keweenaw in the Upper Peninsula to the Indiana/Ohio border.