A tapestry of wetland habitat provides an undisturbed haven for rare and threatened plants where Mebert Creek flows into Lake Leelanau. One of the region’s most diverse wetland complexes, with over a mile of shoreline, this area filters excess nutrients and protects water quality.
The lowland forest contains birch, ash, basswood, red maple, white pine, tamarack, and cedar understory thrives where light breaks the canopy. A variety of ferns, wild rose and yellow lady’s-slippers provide shelter for reclusive species such as otter and bobcat.
Ecologist Glen Goff told the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, “the fen located along the shoreline of Lake Leelanau…is an exemplary natural feature of a type that is presently rare in northern Michigan.”
Three separate projects over time have preserved a total of 217 acres of life-giving wetlands, critical to the health of Lake Leelanau:
Greeno Preserve (21 acres)
Mebert Creek Preserve (40 acres)
Mebert Creek Natural Area (Owned and managed by Bingham Township, 156 acres)
Total complex: 217 Acres
There are no trails or parking areas, but these properties may be accessed for hiking, exploring, and are open to hunting. Greeno Preserve and Mebert Creek Preserve may be accessed off of Lake Leelanau Drive. Mebert Creek Natural Area can be accessed off of E. Donner Road.
The Leelanau Conservancy purchased the original 140-acre Mebert Creek Natural Area and then helped Bingham Township to acquire it with the help of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. A second 13-acre parcel was added to the natural area, and then a third 21-acre parcel was donated by John Greeno.
“This land has been in my family since we established a fishing camp there in 1905, and we always wanted to keep it as natural as possible,” said John.
In 2015, the Conservancy purchased an additional 40 acres that connects the Veronica Valley County Park (owned and managed by Leelanau County) and the Mebert Creek Natural Area. The 40 acre Mebert Creek Preserve protects 3,000 additional feet along Mebert Creek- an alkaline, cold-water trout stream that is an important tributary flowing into Lake Leelanau. The land and other protected properties nearby serve as an important corridor for wildlife. It is owned and managed by the Leelanau Conservancy.
- No trail system: best seen from the water
- Extremely dense wetland, very difficult to navigate
- Great diversity of trees: birch, ash, red maple, basswood, white pine, tamarach, cedar
- Ferns, wild roses, yellow lady’s slippers
- Otter, bobcat, other wetland wildlife
Plants of Mebert Creek and Greeno Properties
The Mebert Creek FQA and Summary and Greeno FQA and Summary are available here. The FQA, or Floristic Quality Assessment, tells the story of the types and quality of flora at Mebert Creek and Greeno Preserves.