Grass Bay Preserve

Grass Bay Preserve is a paradise for wildflowers found only along the Great Lakes.

A paradise for a multitude of wildflowers and neotropical migrating birds, Grass Bay Preserve extends along two miles of stunning Lake Huron shoreline.

This site boasts over 300 plant species. Three species of wildflowers are found nowhere on Earth but along the Great Lakes and they all thrive at Grass Bay—the diminutive dwarf lake iris (blooming in purple or white), Pitcher’s thistle and Houghton’s goldenrod. The songs of such neotropical migrants as the black-throated blue warbler and the prairie warbler can be heard throughout the diverse landscape of shoreline, open dunes, interdunal wetlands, coniferous swamps and forests, home to twelve of Michigan’s thirteen coniferous species.

In order to protect the site from inadvertent ecological damage due to overuse, access is limited to Conservancy field trips and research opportunities. If you are interested in learning more, please contact the Michigan field office at michigan@tnc.org or (517) 316-0300.

Visitors must watch for poison ivy, and be aware of potentially hazardous lake currents. Swimming at this site is particularly dangerous, and therefore not allowed.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
The Nature Conservancy first became aware of Grass Bay’s amazingly lush and diverse flora in 1978. When the original 80-acre parcel went on the market in 1979, the Conservancy secured an option to purchase it. Because the Federated Garden Clubs of Michigan treasured this site and also wanted to see it protected, they launched a very successful multi-year campaign to raise money to assist the Conservancy in purchasing the original parcel, plus approximately 100 more acres soon after.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Since its initial purchase, several land donations and purchases have expanded the Grass Bay Preserve to its current 834 acres.


Watch the video!

Find more than 300 species of plants and wildflowers at this botanist’s paradise close to the Mackinac Bridge.

Watch an interview with this botanical legend.

He literally wrote the book on Michigan Flora. In fact, he wrote all three volumes of the landmark series.