A true representation of the Great Lakes, the 1,615-acre Carl A. Gerstacker Nature Preserve contains five miles of shoreline across four bays on Lake Huron, two small islands, Big and Little Trout Lakes and parts of two creeks. The preserve offers a rich tapestry of intertwined habitats, including limestone shoreline, sand beach, two inland lakes, interdunal wetlands, conifer swamps and mixed hardwood forest. These habitats provide shelter to an abundance of endangered and threatened plant species such as Dwarf lake iris, Houghton's goldenrod and Pitcher's thistle. Visitors might also see a variety of animals including the loon, pileated woodpecker, osprey, wolf and several species of neotropical migratory songbirds such as the American redstart and magnolia warbler.
Why TNC Selected This Site
The goal is to protect a large expanse of contiguous forest on and near the Lake Huron shoreline to support migratory bird species and rare plant and animal species.
What TNC Has Done/Is Doing
The preserve was created in 1993 through the generosity of Marilyn Twining and her family who, over a period of years, sold in a bargain sale to TNC the major parcels of land to protect them as the Little Trout Lake Preserve and the Dudley Bay Preserve.
In honor of a combined grant from The Dow Chemical Company Foundation, the Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow Foundation and the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation, the preserve was renamed in 1996 after Carl E. Gerstacker. Gerstacker was the former chairman of the board and director of The Dow Chemical Company as well as a founding member of the TNC’s Michigan board of trustees.
In 2010, TNC purchased an additional 722 acres which includes most of Big Trout Lake and additional Lake Huron shoreline. TNC also holds conservation easements on 215 acres near the preserve.