Merritt Family and Younger Family Preserves
Access: Open to the public
Acreage: 60 acres
Recreational Activities: Hiking, Wildlife Viewing, Fall Colors
Directions: Merritt Family is located in Union Pier, MI at the north end of Mydra Road off of Elm Valley Road. The Younger Family Preserve is also located Union Pier, MI, and it is along Lakeside Road just south of the bridge over I-94.
Parking: Mydra Road is a deadend. The parking for both preserves is at the trailhead entrance and on the road shoulder.
The Merritt Family and Younger Family Preserves protect 60 acres of forest and wetland, and consist of two contiguous preserves: the 35-acre Merritt Family Preserve and the 25-acre Younger Family Preserve. Although at first glance this looks like one big, monotypic forest, it actually represents two forest types in various stages of regrowth, including a mesic (or moist) southern forest and southern hardwood swamp.
The Preserves are situated adjacent to the Chikaming Township Park and Preserve and in close proximity to several other natural areas including the Edward and Elizabeth Leonard Wildlife Preserve, the Chris Thompson Memorial Preserve, and Warren Woods State Park. Together with private properties, these undeveloped natural areas create critical continuous habitat that ecologists call corridors. Wildlife are mobile: deer, songbirds, butterflies, and even turtles have to move around to acquire resources for survival. Protecting corridors, such as this forested area along a Galien River tributary, is important for sustaining healthy wildlife populations.
The Merritt Family Preserve was donated in 2017 by Meryle Merritt and family and dedicated in memory of Lawrence H. Merritt. The Younger Family Preserve was acquired in 2019 in a bargain sale from the former owner, Joan Younger Stevian. The Preserve is named in honor of the family and dedicated in memory of Joan’s late husband, Karl L. Younger, and his late father, Edward W. Younger, Sr. The Younger property was acquired with donations from several individuals and grant funding from The Pokagon Fund.
The Younger Family Preserve was acquired in part with funding from The Pokagon Fund.