This preserve in the village of Stockbridge provides 30 acres of quiet natural area right on the edge of town. Donated to Legacy Land Conservancy by the Beckwith family in 1999, the preserve holds a mature pine and spruce plantation and an oak-hickory forest surrounding over 800 feet of frontage on Portage Creek, one of the cleanest tributaries to the Huron River. It is common to see deer and wild turkeys in this peaceful oasis and the careful observer will see signs of the Great Horned Owl family. You may also encounter local runners and the high-school cross-country team out for practice, as this trail is part of the Stockbridge Lakelands Trail State Park, and part of the Stockbridge Community Pathways.
Entering the preserve from the south entrance you will walk on a boardwalk through a small wetland recently cleared of old car parts and home to Cricket Frogs, orb weaver spiders, and plenty of Joe-pye weed. Follow the trail blazes up a slight slope and enter the deep shade of the evergreen trees where owls and pileated woodpeckers can often be heard. The trail roughly parallels Portage Creek, going past a small meadow (look for native hoptrees or wafer ash), and into deciduous forest. Cross the creek on a beautiful volunteer-built bridge to follow a small loop through a mature oak/hickory forest. This trail loop also connects to the north entrance to the preserve. With just under a mile of trails, and benches scattered throughout the preserve, this is a place for quiet contemplation and a leisurely stroll.
Address – approximately 2792 Morton Road (M-106), Stockbridge MI
Parking – Look for the Beckwith Preserve entrance sign on the north side of M-106 east of Maple Street. Park off of M-106 near the sign. Please be careful exiting and accessing your vehicle. Legacy is currently working on finding additional nearby property for parking.