De Tour, MI 49725
Open Year Round: No
Whether venturing out on foot and mountain bike in the spring, summer or fall or skis and snowshoes in the winter, Gerstacker's 879 acres offer well-marked trails through a remarkable preserve, rich in wildlife and isolated from most human intrusion.
The Nature Conservancy's Gerstacker Preserve protects 879 acres of cobbled lakeshore, interdunal wetlands, conifer swamps and mixed hardwood forest. Clearly marked and well-maintained trails lead through wet bottomlands and forest-covered dunes to the edge of Little Trout Lake, alive with the calls of peeping frogs and common loons. The mixed hardwood forests provide critical breeding habitats for many types of forest birds including the black-throated blue warbler that requires thick understory shrubs for their nests. Sharp eyes can spot ruffed grouse among the birch. Near the edge of Lake Huron, marshy bogs support insectivorous sundews and rare orchids while the endangered Pitcher's thistle and Houghton's goldenrod grow on the adjoining dunes. This is a remarkable preserve, rich in wildlife and isolated from most human intrusions. The area is open in the winter for backcountry skiing and snowshoeing.