Kehl Lake Natural Area is a 100 acre lowland woods owned and managed by the Leelanau Conservancy and is open to the public. A 1.25 mile trail goes through a small open field, through mixed woodlands and to the small lake’s shoreline. Kehl Lake (known also as Leg Lake) is a good place for migrant waterfowl and the woods are good for both migrating and nesting warblers and other songbirds. Habitats at Habitats at Kehl Lake include uncut old-growth forest, with massive White-cedar, White Pine and Black Spruce, as well as lakeshore and forest edge. The dark, wet woods at Kehl Lake have a boreal feel, as reflected by the breeding birds found here, which include Black-billed cuckoo, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Veery, Northern Parula, Black-throated Blue and Blackburnian Warblers, Northern Waterthrush, White-throated Sparrow, and others. Year-round residents include Ruffed Grouse, Barred Owl, and Pileated Woodpecker. There is a double-loop trail here that should take most birders about an hour or two to explore thoroughly.
When visiting Kehl Lake, be sure to bird the fields visible from Kelh Lake Rd., Otis Rd., and Howell Rd. These can provide a route to the southern unit of Leelanau State Park and are good for birding by car. Birds often seen include Bobolink, Dickcissel, Vesper Sparrow, Meadowlark, Sandhill Crane, and in winter Snowy Owl.
Directions: Take M-201 1.5 miles north of Northport. After 2.5 miles, go left on Snyder Road. Snyder Road “T”s at Sugar Bush Road. Go right on Sugarbush Road. Sugar Bush Road takes a sharp left turn to the North and becomes Kehl Rd. Stay on Kehl .2 mi after you pass Ottis Road on your right, see the Conservancy sign for Kehl Lake Natural Area and parking area on left.