Merritt Family and Younger Family Preserves
Access: Open to the public
Acreage: 60 acres
Directions: Merritt Family Preserve is located on Mydra Road in Union Pier, MI. Younger Family Preserve is located on Lakeside Road in Union Pier, MI. The entrance to both preserves is located on the west side of Mydra Road, north of Elm Valley Road. From I-94, travel east on Union Pier Road/Elm Valley Road 1 mile to Mydra Road. From Three Oaks Road, travel west on Elm Valley Road 2.5 miles to Mydra Road. Travel north on Mydra Road to the entrance. Click here for a link to Google Maps.
Parking: Parking is available at the entrance and along the road shoulder on Mydra Road.
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 “greenbelts”. Wildlife are mobile – deer, songbirds, butterflies, and even turtles have to move around to acquire resources for survival. Protecting wildlife 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 from the former owner, Joan Younger Stevian, at a significant reduction in market value. 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.