Inspiring exploration, appreciation, and conservation of our natural world.

Explore Our Parklands

The Grand Traverse Conservation District is your local Gateway to the Natural World. Using sustainable land management practices and industry leading trail construction techniques, we protect, conserve and provide you with access to the natural resources that make Northwest Michigan so special.

Through agreements with our county and local townships, the Grand Traverse Conservation District manages and cares for publicly held lands along the Boardman River and throughout Grand Traverse County. Our role in land management includes:

  • The development and implementation of management plans – to keep trails fun and safe
  • Oversight of construction projects – to maintain and improve infrastructure
  • Monitoring native habitats – for the birds, bees, and other wild creatures that we love
  • Conducting educational programs – to empower the next generation of environmental stewards

Please view the list of the parklands we manage to find the one that offers all of your favorite recreational activities – they’re all beautiful! Click on the links to learn more and view a trail map of the area. Be sure to visit them all, and if you have a good time, please consider supporting our work so that everyone may continue enjoying them in perpetuity. Email us at to report anything unusual or damaged property.

  • Silver Lake Recreation Area

    The Silver Lake Recreation Area is about 84 acres in area and has many amenities, restrooms, BBQ grills, a tee-ball field, tennis courts, basketball courts, paved and unpaved walking trails, a sledding hill, and a multi-use field for playing catch, football, or tossing a Frisbee. There are also three picnic pavilions at this park, which […]

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  • Miller Creek Nature Reserve

    The 66-acre Miller Creek Nature Reserve can be found behind the Grand Traverse Crossings Mall on South Airport Road. The trails pass through a former red pine plantation, skirt the edges of open meadows, wind through beautiful beech forests, cross boardwalks through cedar swamps, and follow Miller Creek, a tributary of the Boardman River. *Hunting: Shotgun […]

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  • Kid’s Creek Park

    This park is situated along US-31 between Kohl’s and the Great Wolf Lodge. With many restoration projects completed and underway, Kids Creek Park is a great place for a short hike or a little fishing at a stocked pond via ADA accessible, kid-friendly platforms. Fishing is allowed per state regulations (from 4/24 – 9/30); however, […]

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  • Hickory Meadows

    Located on the west side of Traverse City, this property features several miles of trails. Paths meander through meadows and upland forests to enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and dog walking. This area is also great for enjoying open space, scenic views, and wildlife viewing.

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  • Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve

    Within this 505-acre natural area are a marsh, swamp, level terrain, upland forest, pine forest, creek, and a river. The cover types of the area provide excellent habitat for beaver, otter, mink, fox, deer, and many other animals and birds. The Boardman River runs through the property and is the central feature of the reserve. […]

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  • East Creek Reserve

    East Creek Reserve is owned by Rotary Charities and managed for public use by the Grand Traverse Conservation District. This 560-acre reserve is located just south of Traverse City in Mayfield. *Hunting: Open to hunting – state rules apply.  

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  • Commons Natural Area

    The Commons Natural Area offers a rich history and great opportunity to get out and enjoy quiet recreation just minutes from the City. With over 4.5 miles of trail to explore, the vast and staggering beauty found on this property will astound you!

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  • Brown Bridge Quiet Area

    The Brown Bridge Quiet Area is located on the Boardman River, a state designated Natural River, approximately 11 miles southeast of Traverse City, Michigan. One of the largest natural areas that we manage, you can enjoy more than 6 miles of trails, paddling on the Boardman River, and gorgeous views of the river from several […]

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