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As one drives west on County Road 428 and comes to the crest of the hill over-looking the Tahquamenon River Valley, a visitor’s first view is a spectacular panorama of Hamilton Lake, the surrounding hills of the Newberry moraine, and the contrasting swamps of the Tahquamenon River Valley. From an approximate elevation of 890 feet, the County Road drops you down to the lake and county parking area to experience a view of Hamilton Lake mirrored against the hardwood hills to the south. The diverse habitats and ecosystems found at the Hamilton Lake Nature Area contribute natural textures, colors, sounds, and an ever-changing palate to the visitor. The site has long been an area where people visit and explore the wonders of nature and the changing environment we live in. Hamilton Lake is the extreme headwaters of the East Branch of Teaspoon Creek. It is part of the larger Tahquamenon River Watershed (11,811 acres). Hamilton Lake is approximately 10 acres in size, with a drainage area of one square mile. The lake has two main depressions, one in the north portion, with gradual slope to 34 feet and the other a sink of 45 feet. This feature of interest has a very shallow margin with a vertical drop of 5 or 6 feet, then steep decline to extreme depth with almost pure marl bottom. The forest’s current cover consists of four timber types and totals 48 acres. The area surrounding Hamilton Lake is a lowland brush/conifer mix totaling 12 acres. To the southeast and west of the lake, the timber type is lowland conifer and totals 15 acres. These are the wettest soils and are predominantly stocked with cedar along with some spruce, balsam fir and hemlock, a declining component of our landscape. The northeast cover type consists of 17 acres of aspen, which was clear-cut in 1992. Northwest of the lake there is a small, fully stocked northern hardwood stand totaling 4 acres. This hardwood is predominately maple and beech and was thinned in 1992, when the aspen was harvested. An abundance of wildlife is known to inhabit the site and some are thought to traverse the wildlife corridor of the swamp leading to the Tahquamenon. With only a very small portion of Michigan’s original landscape remaining, the Hamilton Lake Nature Area project recognizes the importance of protecting representative examples of the native ecosystems and the unique features that remain. It is the goal of the project to conserve biodiversity, protect water quality and habitat, prevent alteration of important ecological processes and provide educational and recreational opportunities to the public.

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