The Agnes S. Andreae Nature Preserve and Andreae Cabin are named after Agnes S. Andreae, who donated the cabin and 27 acres of land to the Little Traverse Conservancy in 1983 so that the peaceful wilderness experience that it offers could be protected for future generations. Today, the preserve’s size has grown to 181 acres, and it lies adjacent to the 400-acre Boyd B. Banwell Nature Preserve. Combined the preserves offer nearly 5 miles of hiking.
The Andreae Preserve cabin was built-in 1908. It measures 29′ X 24′ and has four bedrooms with 16 bunk beds, a kitchen, a large dining room, and a screened porch overlooking the river. The cabin has electricity, lights, a refrigerator, 4-burner cooktop, microwave oven, and a wood-burning stove. There is no indoor running water. A pit toilet is located nearby.
The cabin is available for overnight use by organized community groups such as scouts, churches, school classes, and 4-H clubs. Adult supervision is required for youth groups. There is no fee for usage; however, monetary contributions to the Conservancy are gratefully accepted. Stewardship projects around the cabin or preserve are periodically needed, and cabin users are encouraged to participate (inquire about the current project list).
The primary habitat types found within the preserve include the river, the riparian zone (the area where forest and water meet), the mixed hardwood/conifer forests that lie on either side of the river, and jack pine forests, the uplands further away from the river’s edge. A diversity of wildlife including songbirds, game birds (grouse, turkey, woodcock, and waterfowl), raptors (hawks, eagles, and owls), deer, elk, bear, bobcat, otter, mink, coyote, fox raccoon, and numerous other animals utilize these habitats form time-to-time. The forested lands along the river provide an essential travel corridor for wildlife.
The Pigeon River originates in Otsego County, only a few miles from the city of Gaylord. The river’s mainstream is 42 miles long from its headwaters to its mouth at the south end of Mullett Lake, which is only three miles downstream from the Andreae Cabin.
The river drops 545 feet over this length, for an average gradient of 13 feet per mile. However, the rise is steeper in the Andreae Preserve’s vicinity, resulting in a swift current and even small rapids. The swift-flowing river has cut down through glacial deposits creating high, steep bluffs on the preserve and adjacent areas.
The watershed of the Pigeon River drains an area of about 140 square miles. Throughout the watershed, numerous tributaries bring the total length of all the streams in this system to about 80 miles. About 40% of the land in the watershed and 30% of the stream frontage is in public ownership, principally in the Pigeon River Country State Forest. Little Traverse Conservancy has protected more than 13 miles of frontage on the Pigeon River and its tributaries through both nature preserves and conservation easements.
The Pigeon River is a legendary trout stream. Its waters are home to steelhead (lake-run rainbow trout), brown trout, brook trout, and various other fish species. Throughout much of the year, anglers can be seen wading the stream throughout the preserve.
RULES AND INSTRUCTIONS
FOR USE OF THE ANDREAE NATURE PRESERVE CABIN
Group size is limited to 20 (there are 16 bunks in the cabin, plus floor space in the dining area). Special permission may be granted for larger groups. All group use must be approved in advance by the Little Traverse Conservancy.
Approved and confirmed user groups must pick up the key for the gate, cabin, and woodshed at the Indian River Trading Post (6153 M-68, just West of I-75 next to MacDonalds). They are open 24/7. The phone number there is (231) 238-9081. Please be sure to return the key to the Trading Post when you are finished using the cabin.
When you arrive at the cabin, turn on the electricity at the outside electrical switch-box. Please unplug appliances and turn off the outdoor electrical switch when you leave.
Firewood for use in the woodstove is stored in the outside woodshed. Please do not use this wood for outdoor campfires (you must bring your wood for this purpose). You’re welcome and encouraged to get your dry hardwood for use in the inside wood stove to supplement the limited supply. However, to prevent the spread of forest diseases, please either burn all of the wood you bring in or take leftover wood back out with you. Do not leave any of your wood behind.
Please do not leave firewood in the cabin when you go. Storing wood in the cabin can lead to insect problems. However, leaving a little dry kindling inside is fine and will probably be significantly appreciated by the next group.
Campfires are allowed only in the fire ring in the yard.
Do not collect live or dead wood from the preserve property for firewood or other purposes.
Do not cut or deface live trees (e.g., limbs removed, nails placed, bark damaged). Do not collect any plants or animals (other than fish–sport fishing per State regulations is allowed)
All garbage and leftover food must be removed from the property. Please do not burn garbage either inside or outside, put it in the pit toilet, or dispose of it (including food scraps) out.
The kitchen sink drains to buckets beneath the sink. Please be sure to empty the buckets before they overflow by disposing of the kitchen “greywater” outside in the woods a short distance from the cabin.
Groups using the cabin must use the pit toilet. Do not construct or use temporary latrines.
Please respect neighbors, other preserve users, and the wildlife by refraining from excessive noise. Please do not trespass on adjoining private land.
To help prevent erosion, please use only the stairway and wood-chipped path to access the river. Do not climb up or down the streambanks.
Users can drive to the cabin to drop off supplies, but long-term parking out by the access gate is required. However, the access drive is steep and winding, and there is little maneuvering room. It may be hard to get back up the hill in icy or muddy conditions. The access drive is not plowed in winter. For these reasons, cabin users are urged to park near the access gate and walk-in whenever possible.
Suggested items to bring with you to the cabin include:
- Drinking water
- Bug Spray (in the summer)
- Wood (especially for outdoor burning)
- Sleeping bags, sheets, blankets, pillows, etc.
- Cups, plates, and eating utensils
For more information about the Preserve, stewardship projects, or report problems, please contact the Little Traverse Conservancy staff. All stewardship projects must be approved in advance by the Conservancy.