Turtle Creek Preserve
Turtle Creek Preserve is a 12-acre woodland located in New Buffalo Township adjacent to the New Buffalo Elementary School on Lubke Road. The nature preserve features a mature beech-maple forest and seasonal wetlands. The stream after which the preserve is named, Turtle Creek, runs along the northern edge of the property and connects with Lighthouse Creek, a direct tributary of Lake Michigan. The property is part of the Lake Michigan coastal flyway for migratory songbirds, providing natural habitat for birds to rest and feed during their journeys up and down the lakeshore in the spring and fall.
The Preserve has a long history. It was farmed for nearly 100 years from roughly 1860 through 1970. At that time, agricultural use ceased, and the present forest began to regenerate. Together with property owned by the New Buffalo Area Schools to the south as well as across Lubke Road to the east, roughly 70 acres of natural area are preserved and open to the public in New Buffalo Township.
The acquisition of the Preserve was made possible when the former landowner, intent on seeing the land protected, granted Chikaming Open Lands (COL) a generous price reduction on the property. Its acquisition was funded by more than 40 members of the surrounding community who came together to raise approximately 75% of the property costs in just five months. The remaining funds were provided by COL using funds previously raised for land acquisitions from a combination of individual donors and The Pokagon Fund.
Turtle Creek Preserve is located on Lubke Road just north of the New Buffalo Elementary School. Parking for the Preserve is located in the school parking lot. Please be courteous to the school, staff, and students. Overnight parking is prohibited. Turtle Creek offers a trail network that is connected to the school's trails and suitable for hiking, bird watching, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing. No bicycles or motorized vehicles. No hunting. Leashed dogs are welcome. Please stay on marked trails.
This preserve was acquired in part with funding from The Pokagon Fund.