Charles A. Ransom Nature Preserve/Robert L. Bytwerk Forest Reserve Complex

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240 acres

Land Description

The Ransom Preserve (80 acres) is a mix of open fields (providing scenic views) and northern Michigan hardwoods. The Bytwerk Reserve (160 acres) consists primarily of beautiful rolling upland classic northern Michigan hardwood forest.

Trail Description

From the parking area of the Ransom Preserve, you will find the trailhead to a 1½ mile trail system. The terrain is quite steep and hilly. There are no official trails on the Bytwerk Reserve.


Commanding one of the most spectacular views in northern Michigan, the Charles A. Ransom Nature Preserve is well worth visiting. The 80-acre property was donated in 1976 by Woodbury and Christiana Ransom in memory of their son. From its highest elevation of 320 feet above Lake Michigan, viewers can see much of western Charlevoix County, a broad expanse of Lake Michigan, four islands, and the distant Leelanau Peninsula on a clear day. In 2021, several funders came together for the acquisition of the 160-acre Bytwerk Reserve, with the Bytwerk Family the primary funders. This land has historically been enrolled in qualified forest and tree farm programs.


To get to the Ransom Preserve from Petoskey, take US-31 south approximately 9 miles to Burgess Road and turn left. Go 3½ miles to Quarterline Road and turn left. Then go 1 mile to Maple Grove Road and turn left. The Charles A. Ransom Nature Preserve parking area is ¾ mile down Maple Grove Road.

Check out the plants and animals found at this preserve using the iNaturalist guide below. Help us document more with and


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