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Ives Road Fen Preserve

Open to the Public


Things To Do

Entrance available through appointment with Conservancy staff or participation in volunteer events. View All

Plan Your Visit

Located in Lenawee County in the Lower Peninsula View All

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Where land and water come together, wonderful things happen. Wet, spring-fed fen blends into floodplain forest to create the globally significant habitats of Ives Road Fen Preserve. Fens are unusual, and increasingly rare, wetlands that receive water from underground alkaline springs rather than from precipitation. This pure, cool water flows in rivulets under the thick grasses and sedges of the preserve, emptying into the River Raisin at the fen’s eastern edge.

The air sings with throaty trills of the tree frog, the tap-tap-tap of the rare Blanchard’s cricket frog and a chorus of migratory and breeding birds such as the yellow-breasted chat, blue-winged warbler and alder flycatcher. The fen also provides ideal habitat for many rare plants, including the carnivorous sundew and pitcher plant, as well as the showy coneflower, prairie dropseed grass, prairie Indian-plaintain, hairy-fruited sedge, beak grass and prairie rose. Spectacular sycamore and silver maple trees spread their shade over the floodplain. One of the rare animals here is the hickorynut mussel, found in the river itself.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
The Conservancy began purchasing land at Ives Road Fen in 1987. This wet, spring-fed prairie blends into floodplain forest to create a globally significant habitat. Its pure, cool water flows in rivulets under the thick grasses and sedges of the preserve, emptying into the River Raisin at the fen’s eastern edge. The River Raisin is one of the very best warm water rivers in the state and includes 5 mussels of conservation concern. Additionally, three of the four local communities that draw all of their drinking water from rivers are on the River Raisin downstream of Ives Road Fen Preserve.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
The main threats to this preserve are invasive species such as garlic mustard and glossy buckthorn, ditches and tile lines from old agricultural activities, and fire suppression. Staff and our cadre of ambitious, dedicated volunteers have removed more than 2.5 million adult buckthorn stems, burned nearly 400 brush piles, spot burned 10 million buckthorn seedlings, conducted 31 prescribed burns, removed 3.5 tons of garlic mustard by hand and treated 500,000 purple loosestrife and 10,000 cattails. The preserve contains nearly 100 acres of restored prairie fen, an increase from six acres in 1987. To restore hydrology, we have filled one ditch and installed dams in several others, and have removed over 100 meters of tile lines.


Why We Burn

Discover how controlled fire helps to restore native landscapes, ensuring the long-term survival of countless species.


Channel 11, Toledo

Learn about the importance of the Ives Road Fen Preserve

A fine chorus of spring peepers can be heard calling in mid-to-late March. The splendor of wildflowers and prairie grasses can be enjoyed from June to August. Be aware of poison ivy, poison sumac, chiggers and stinging nettle at this site. Because of the wet and uneven ground conditions, wear waterproof boots with ankle support.

The Nature Conservancy allows 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.

Permitted Activities
Access to this preserve is limited to volunteer workdays, field trips and hunting for whitetail deer. Please email if you are interested in participating or visit our volunteer webpage.

Prohibited Activities

  • No motorized and non-motorized vehicles, including but not limited to automobiles, off-road vehicles (ORVs), all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), motorcycles, snowmobiles, amphibious vehicles, and bicycles. All visitors must park at the gate and walk in.
  • No Pets
  • No hunting or trapping without a Conservancy-issued permit
  • No removal of trees, plants or animals (alive or dead)
  • No removal of rocks, water or other non-organic materials
  • No geocaching
  • No camping, bonfires, fireworks or other fires

Plan Your Visit
Please see "Preserve Visitation Guidelines."

In accordance with the Department of Justice’s amended regulation implementing Title III of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding "Other Power‐Driven Mobility Devices,” The Nature Conservancy has completed an assessment of our Ives Road Fen Preserve. While some types of OPDMDs can be accommodated, there are necessary restrictions on their use. Please contact the Lansing Office at (517) 316-0300 or with any questions regarding these policies.

  • Ives Road Fen Preserve is not typically open to the public except during guided tours. Groups or individuals must contact the Lansing office to arrange entry and escort. Access will be limited to daylight hours and at the availability of Conservancy staff.
  • OPDMDs which can safely navigate the uneven terrain present shall be permitted along two-track trails during guided tours when operated at low speeds with proper personal protective equipment and during optimal trail conditions. Tour traffic is restricted to two-track and foot trails whenever possible. OPDMD use off the two-track trails would be dangerous to the operator due to the uneven terrain, often hidden beneath dense vegetation. OPDMD use of any kind poses a significant danger to the operator and the natural resources of the wetland and floodplain areas and will not be allowed on the foot trails in these areas.

From Tecumseh:

  • From downtown Tecumseh's intersection of M-50 and Evans Street, head south on Evans 2.1 miles to a small drive on the left (east) side of the road (road marker 5909). Note: Evans St. becomes N. Raisin Center Highway south of town and the small drive is located 0.1 miles south of Ives Road which intersects on your right (west). If N. Raisin Center Highway begins to curve to the left, you have gone too far. 
  • The small drive goes over the railroad tracks. Cross the tracks and park in the field at the top of the hill.

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

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