Darnton Family Nature Preserve
Size: 275 acres
Land Description: Just a few miles outside of Boyne City, these trails take you through rolling terrain and varied habitats, including a mix of old hay fields, northern hardwood forests, pine plantations, and conifer swamp wetlands surrounding Porter Creek, a trout stream and important tributary to Lake Charlevoix.
Trails: 6.5 miles
History: In the early ‘90s, Jeff Knaggs purchased the land from his grandparents. For decades, the family enrolled the land into a variety of conservation programs. Trees were planted for wind breaks, erosion control, wildlife food, and aesthetics. Over time, the trees were managed within a Forest Stewardship Program, including most recently to control the invasive pest Emerald Ash Borer. The purchase of the preserve in 2013 was made possible by the Taylor Foundation, the J.A. Woollam Foundation, and the Darnton family. The preserve is named after the Darnton family whose generations have long loved the Lake Charlevoix region. Two additions totaling 70 acres and with 2,000 feet more along Porter Creek were purchased in 2017 with funding from John and Cyndi Woollam.
Directions: From Front Street in Boyne City, head southwest out of town following the lake until it becomes Marshall Road. Follow .3 miles and take a left on Anderson Rd. In 2.5 miles, take a right on Behling Rd. Follow Behling Rd. .8 mile to the parking area on the right. Access to the preserve is also available off of Dyer Rd, but this dirt road’s intersection with Behling has very poor visibility.