Places We Protect

Carl A. Gerstacker Nature Preserve


Grasses and wildflowers along the shore of Lake Huron.
Gerstacker Preserve at Dudley Bay The Carl A. Gerstacker Preserve at Dudley Bay features five miles of Lake Huron shoreline. © Leann Heywood/TheNatureConservancy

Dudley Bay features one of the most spectacular limestone bedrock shorelines in Michigan.



Enhance Your Visit

Take an audio tour of Carl A. Gerstacker Nature Preserve.

Why Is This Preserve Significant?

Carl A. Gerstacker Nature Preserve protects a large expanse of contiguous forest on and near the Lake Huron shoreline to support migratory birds on their journey north and south, as well as safegaurd other rare plant and animal species.

What Can I See Here?

Enjoy five miles of beautiful shoreline across four bays on Lake Huron, two small islands, Big and Little Trout Lakes, and parts of two creeks.

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.

Thanks to Our Funders

The preserve was created in 1993 through the generosity of Marilyn Twining and her family who, over a period of years, sold the major parcels of land to TNC in order 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.




Hiking, swimming, bird watching, geocaching, hunting

Explore our work in this region

Enhance Your Visit

Take an audio tour of Carl A. Gerstacker Nature Preserve.

What to Do and See

The month of May is one of the best times of the year to visit this preserve as migratory songbirds are either resting, en route to other destinations, or settling on breeding territories for the summer. In mid-September, take a walk down the trail leading to Little Trout Lake and enjoy the spectacular beauty of an autumn day. Bring insect repellent, a hat and sunscreen. Please avoid trampling Pitcher’s thistle plants that may be along the beach. Most of them should be flagged to aid identification and awareness.

The Nature Conservancy allows hunting for white-tail deer on this preserve to reduce threats too many deer pose to our conservation targets. All hunters are required to receive a permit from TNC as well as a Michigan deer hunting license. Additionally, hunters must report any deer taken from the preserve.

Permitted Activities:

  • Hiking, skiing and snowshoeing
  • Bird watching, nature study and photography
  • Swimming
  • Geocaching
  • Kayaks and canoes are permitted on Lake Huron. Vessels must be carried from the parking area.
  • Research projects and educational studies with approved permit
  • Hunting with a TNC-issued permit for whitetail deer

Prohibited Activities:

  • No rock climbing and rappelling
  • No motorized and non-motorized vehicles
  • No building of new trails
  • No pets
  • No hunting or trapping without a Conservancy-issued permit
  • No removal of plants or animals (alive or dead)
  • No removal of rocks, water, or other non-organic materials
  • No camping, bonfires, fireworks or other fires
  • No firewood collecting
  • No littering

A Great Way to Explore

Enhance your next visit to the Carl A. Gerstacker Nature Preserve with a guided audio tour!