People of all ages enjoy the relaxing setting in an urban area for hiking, fishing, and biking through the diverse and unique ecosystems. The Preserve offers wetland, riverine, and forested ecosystems that are accessible to individuals of all ages and physical abilities, and we are proud to offer the community outdoor recreation and education experiences that promote environmental stewardship.
In a recent year, over 30,000 individuals visited the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve in addition to the nearly 2,000 students who participated in our educational programs. The Preserve provides all visitors with handicap accessible trail systems, the Al Bell Wetland Trail, paved bike paths, an outdoor pavilion classroom, and the ¼ mile long Wilder Riverwalk for their enjoyment. The Preserve serves as a biking and hiking destination for many citizens and visitors, and countless residents walk their dogs through the many paths.
The Preserve is one of the main access points to the Muskegon Lakeshore Trail which reaches west to Pere Marquette Park on Lake Michigan, and to the north, the bike trail links to the Hart-Montague Trail State Park giving safe and easy access to Hart, Michigan and beyond with over 50 miles of paved bike trails.
Thanks to the generous contributions of the Great Lakes Fishery Trust, The Ray and Alma Foundation, the Nancy Grey Foundation and many others, the Wilder Riverwalk with its dedicated fishing piers also gives anglers the opportunity to fish the Muskegon River without the need of a boat. In addition, the shoreline trails and wetland walkway provide numerous access points for fishermen on the bayous surrounding the Preserve.
The Audubon Society of Michigan has recognized the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve as a bird sanctuary. Local birders regularly visit and find a wide variety to observe, nearly 200 different species having been identified in the Preserve. Some have reported that the Preserve is one of the best bird-watching sites in West Michigan.