Arcadia Dunes: The C.S. Mott Nature Preserve managed by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy covers 3,800 acres of land including lakeshore, dunes, forests, wetland, and grassland. Adjacent working farms have also been permanently protected. The property provides significant habitat for migrating birds and hosts over 150 species year-round.
The Baldy Trailhead on M-22 is a wonderful birding location and starting point for a popular trail as well as the informational hub of the entire Arcadia Dunes Preserve. The trailhead has kiosks with maps and information to help plan your exploration of the entire property including 4 trailheads, 15 miles of trail, and many interior roads. Depart the Baldy Trailhead to hike through fields and forest to lake bluff and the open perched dune called “Old Baldy”. Look for bluebirds, towhees, thrashers, and sparrows in the shrubby old fields. The large block of un-fragmented northern hardwood forest west of M-22 provides habitat for forest interior birds like Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, and Black-throated Blue Warblers. From the bluff high over Lake Michigan you are likely to see soaring Bald Eagles and Bank Swallows.
The Dry Hill Grassland at Arcadia Dunes is worth the short 4 mile drive east of M-22 to see 350 acres of once fallow field being restored with native vegetation for upland birds. The grassland has one of the largest nesting populations of Grasshopper Sparrows in the state and hosts other declining species like Eastern Meadowlark, Upland Sandpiper, and Northern Harrier.
Directions: The Arcadia Dunes-Baldy Trailhead is located 0.6 miles north of the Benzie Scenic Turnout on the west side of M-22. The Dry Hill Grassland turn-out is located east of Arcadia, MI. From the village of Arcadia, take Glovers Lake Rd. for four miles to a fork in the road where Glovers Lake turns south. Take a left at this fork onto Keillor Rd. Travel north 0.6 miles to the Turn-out on the east side of the road.