A Gem in Oceana County: Genevieve Casey Nature Sanctuary

By Chelsea Richardson

Showy Lady's Slippers in the sanctuary

Showy Lady’s Slippers in the sanctuary. Photo by Natalie Kent-Norkowski.

Genevieve Casey Nature Sanctuary is located near Pentwater south of Ludington in Oceana County. This diverse sanctuary was first owned by U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Daniel Webster, a well-known figure in 19th century American history, before eventually ending up in the hands of Genevieve Casey, whose family owned it for 40 years. Casey wanted to see the land permanently protected, so it was sold to the Michigan Nature Association in 2000.

Genevieve Casey’s large marsh in the north, groves of pine and cedar in the south and low shrubs and lichen barren area in the center make this sanctuary extremely diverse.

This sanctuary is home to a number of different wildlife and natural habitats. Some native plants in the area include pink lady’s slipper, brome grass, lichens and white pine. Along with white cedar, yellow birch, red shelf fungi, liverworts and dinner plate orchid that densely along Breeder Creek.

Whitetail deer, coyotes, beavers, otters and possums are some of the native wildlife that call this sanctuary home. Owls, partridges and blue and green herons have also been known to make an appearance at Genevieve Casey. Aquatic species within the creek include trout, steelhead and salmon.

Last year, MNA successfully acquired a 30-acre addition to the Genevieve Casey Nature Sanctuary. This addition brings Genevieve Casey to a total of 53 acres and is home to a trout stream and a variety of other habitats. Brook trout were noticed in the stream which makes it a very special place. Brook trout are an indicator of good water quality because they only live in clean, fast-moving and silt-free waters.

Trout stream

The high-quality stream at Genevieve Casey. Photo by Brad Hyde

The surrounding community has demonstrated their concern for this sanctuary by engaging local Boy Scouts in developing accommodations for physically disabled visitors to this sanctuary. In 2003, a marked trail, a footbridge and parking area were added to the sanctuary to better accommodate guests. Future projects have been earmarked such as distance markers, benches, plaques identifying the wildlife, a map of the trail and historical information.

If you would like to experience this beautiful sanctuary for yourself, join MNA’s 60th Anniversary Odyssey Tour on Wednesday, July 18 at 10 a.m. Call the MNA office at (866) 223-2231 or visit the MNA website to reserve your spot.

Please note, fishing is not permitted in MNA sanctuaries.

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