Burns Prairie Preserve
Access: Open to the public
Acreage: 38 acres
Directions: Located on the east side of Mt. Zion Road, 0.75 miles south of US-12, in Galien, MI. From I-94, travel east on US-12 approximately 12 miles to Mt. Zion Road. From US-31, travel west on US-12, approximately 8.25 miles to Mt. Zion Road. Travel south on Mt. Zion Road to the preserve.
Parking: Parking is available in the grassy areas near the trailhead or along the road near the preserve sign.
The Preserve boasts native prairie grasses, such as big bluestem and Indian grass, as well as an abundance of summer-blooming wildflowers, including black-eyed Susan, purple coneflower, and butterfly weed. A seasonal wetland was also re-established in a drainage area that bisects the Preserve.
This prairie most closely resembles a mesic (or moist) prairie, a once common feature in Michigan that is now considered critically imperiled. In fact, according to the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, remnant mesic prairies are so rare that none occur on sites in the state that are open to the public. Burns Prairie Preserve may not be a remnant of the original prairies that bison roamed, but it is being actively restored to resemble such an ecosystem. Chikaming Open Lands has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in the restoration and ongoing management of the property.
The original 12-acre parcel was donated to Chikaming Open Lands in 2012 by Lloyd and Pat Burns. In 2012, Chikaming Open Lands was granted financial assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through its Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program to restore the Burns parcel to native prairie and wetlands. In 2019 and 2020, Chikaming Open Lands purchased an additional 26 acres of planted native grassland to expand the Preserve, with funding from the William Knack Memorial Fund, Jim and Judy Neuman, and other individual donors.
Pictured to the right is the winner of our 2022 #COLfallphotos contest.