This land is open for foot access and activities such as hiking, snowshoeing, bird watching, and bow hunting for whitetail deer by permit. View All
Located in Washtenaw County in the Lower Peninsula View All
Sharon Hollow is a dynamic preserve, from the symphony of toads and frogs in vernal ponds during spring to the rain of brilliant yellow beech leaves in the fall, visitors will find year-round spectacles to enjoy at this precious place.
The floodplain forests, rippling streams, and small pocket wetlands provide habitat for a vast diversity of plants and animals. A trail system, including a boardwalk built by volunteers and recently repaired by an AmeriCorps team, winds through the natural communities to the River Raisin, where visitors might see turtles sunning on logs. The trail crosses a power line right-of-way that supports native prairie plants. The right-of-way is kept open by mowing, a technique often used in place of prescribed burning to keep shrubs and invasive species from establishing in an area.
The invasive emerald ash borer beetle has taken its toll at this site, killing most of the large ash trees. Though many of the most hazardous trees have been cut, visitors should be careful on windy days. Trees down across the trail should be reported by calling 517-316-0300.
Why The Conservancy Selected This Site
The Upper River Raisin Watershed, of which Nan Weston Nature Preserve at Sharon Hollow is a part, offers one of the last remaining opportunities for landscape-scale restoration in southern Michigan. Much of southern Michigan and northern Indiana and Ohio has been altered by agriculture, logging and development. The Upper River Raisin Watershed contains significant areas of remnant natural communities and recovering vegetation. It also contains the greatest amount of inland stopover habitat for migrating birds in the western Lake Erie basin.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Working with state, county, and local partners, the Conservancy has protected a network of characteristic ecological systems and is working to restore degraded areas. Nan Weston Nature Preserve also protects a portion of the River Raisin, which flows through the Conservancy’s Ives Road Fen Preserve before continuing to Lake Erie. Protection of the river provides habitat for native fish and mussels, and contributes to the water quality of the Great Lakes.
Enjoy a virtual hike with Conservancy intern, Jason Whalen.
The variety of wetland plant communities at Nan Weston Nature Preserve at Sharon Hollow reflects the amazing underlying geological diversity – from streams lined with silver maple, red ash and swamp white oak to swampy areas filled with black ash, American elm and yellow birch. In the spring, be prepared for wet, muddy trails by wearing waterproof boots. Be advised that hazard trees may be present along the trail due to destruction of ash trees caused by emerald ash borer.
The Nature Conservancy allows bow hunting for white-tail deer on this preserve to reduce an unnaturally high deer population in the area and reduce threats too many deer pose to our conservation targets. All hunters are required to receive a permit from the Conservancy as well as a Michigan deer hunting license. Additionally, hunters must report any deer taken from the preserve.
Please see "Preserve Visitation Guidelines."
From Chelsea, Michigan: