Galien River Marsh Preserves
Access: Open to the public
Acreage: 154 acres
Directions & Parking: Access the Marsh at the Galien River boat launch on Red Arrow Highway on the east side (if water levels are low enough to allow passage under the highway) or at the New Buffalo City boat launch. No trails are available on this preserve property. However, the Galien River County Park has a boardwalk and overlook tower that is open to the public just upstream of the Preserves.
Located on the Galien River in New Buffalo, the Galien River Marsh Preserves consist of two properties, Louis J. Sima Great Lakes Marsh Preserve and Merganser Point Preserve, which contain over 150 acres of the larger Galien River Marsh. These preserves protect an ecosystem known as a Great Lakes coastal marsh, one of the richest habitats on earth. The Marsh is dominated by emergent wetland plant species and provides critical habitat for birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Several threatened plant species are found here as well as over 140 bird species.
The distribution of water in a coastal marsh is directly connected to and influenced by water levels of the Great Lakes. These coastal marshes are highly regarded for their diverse habitats and ecological value, but are threatened by the invasion of exotic species as well as habitat loss from development and water quality issues. Learn more about our restoration efforts throughout the Galien River Marsh.
The Sima family donated 144 acres to Chikaming Open Lands in 2001 for the Louis J. Sima Great Lakes Marsh. The 10-acre Merganser Point Preserve was originally protected by Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy in 2000 and transferred to Chikaming Open Lands in 2018. Due to their close proximity, these preserves are managed jointly.
One of the best ways to enjoy the Galien River Marsh is by meandering through in a canoe or kayak. Access the Marsh at the Galien River boat launch on Red Arrow Highway (if water levels are low enough to allow passage under the highway) or at the New Buffalo City boat launch. No trails are available on Preserve property, although the Galien River County Park has a boardwalk and overlook tower that are open to the public just upstream of the Preserves. No hunting.
Pictured to the right is the winner of our 2022 #COLfallphotos contest.