Why Is This Preserve Significant?
The Ross Preserve features many different habitat types, including coastal plain marshes, wet meadows, sand dunes, wooded inland dunes, wetlands, small lakes and northern hardwood forests.
Coastal plain marshes are rare in the Great Lakes region; they are typically found only along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Out of the 42 identified coastal plain marshes in Michigan, this preserve boasts three of the highest quality.
Much of this preserve once served as a vacation spot for the Ross family. You can still see vestiges of their time spent here, including the foundation of their vacation house, overlooking one of many small lakes on the preserve.
What can I see?
As you explore more than five miles of trails, you are likely to encounter reptiles and amphibians around the coastal plain marshes and small ponds on the preserve. Keep an eye out for mammals such as red fox and coyote.
More than 100 bird species are known to nest in the shrubs and trees here throughout the year, with spring and fall migrations bringing songbirds, warblers and waterfowl such as rose-breasted grosbeaks, American coots, mallards and common yellowthroat warblers.
The preserve also features a diverse array of plants including wet meadow species such as tall Coreopsis, round-leaved sundew, Joe Pye-weed, the nodding ladies’ tresses orchid and the rare Virginia meadow-beauty as well as upland species such as spring beauty and hepatica. There is also a wide assortment of tree species including eastern hemlock, sugar maple, sassafras and black cherry.