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Natural Education Reserve


The Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve was set aside as a "natural environmental classroom for area youth." All visitors are welcome to enjoy the nearly 7 miles of improved trails that wind along the Boardman River. This includes over 1200 feet of boardwalks, bridges, canoe portage sites, boat launch and picnic areas for such activities as hiking, photography, canoeing, nature study, bird watching, and other forms of quiet recreation.

The Boardman River is the central feature of the Reserve. In contrast to the impounded waters in the north section of the Reserve, the river in the south is free flowing and in its natural condition. It is here that the river is most dramatic as it falls in a series of rapids in part of its course through this part of the Reserve. Remnants of the old Keystone Dam that went out a number of years ago are still visible. The old berm wall and spillway are now being reclaimed by the forest, as the river banks have reverted to their natural and original flora.
NER craft groups 

The Boardman River Nature Center


 1450 Cass Rd. just 1.5 miles south of South Airport Rd. in Traverse City.
 Tuesday - Saturday from 10 am- 4 pm 

For more information, visit http://natureis, or call (231)941-0960.

Boardman River Nature Center


Grand Traverse Conservation District

In August of 2008, the Grand Traverse Conservation District opened the Boardman River Nature Center on the Reserve, located at the Sabin Dam trailhead. Created as a way to help foster the exploration, appreciation and conservation of the natural world, the Boardman River Nature Center has become a destination for the Grand Traverse community to nurture their connection to nature.  Inside, the Boardman River Nature Center features an exhibit gallery, nature theater, and activity area for kids.  Outside, there are native plant gardens, a demonstration wetland and access to hiking trails in the 505-acre Natural Education Reserve.  Nature themed programs for families, children and adults occur regularly on evenings and weekends and custom programs are available for schools and groups.