Photo Gallery Friday: Pickerel Lake Park – Fred Meijer Nature Preserve, Kent County
One of the things I love about living in the Grand Rapids area is that even after 14 years here, there are so many new places we have yet to discover. We recently stumbled upon a hidden gem among Kent County Parks while looking for a place to go hiking, and we enjoyed every minute of our visit to Pickerel Lake Park – Fred Meijer Nature Preserve. The park is located at 6001 Ramsdell Rd. NE, north of Cannonsburg Rd. and just a few miles east of the East Beltline/Northland Drive. A nearly two-mile hike leads visitors across a boardwalk over the lake, into and through a forest (where there are several side paths) before passing tamarack swamps and more boardwalks while continuing around the lake. Wildlife was abundant and incredibly varied when we visited, with chipmunks, beavers, geese, herons, snakes, rabbits, blackbirds, ducks and more all making appearances.
According to a plaque on a rock near the trail entrance, “For more than forty years, a Lithuanian immigrant, Joseph “Indian Joe” Cizauskas, protected the woodlands, fields and wetlands of this Kent County Park against development. After Mr. Cizauskas died in 1988, the property passed to his heirs, who sold it to Kent County for operation as a public park and nature preserve. Funds for acquisition of this property were raised through public sources and private contributions. Fred Meijer, who with his father, Hendrik Meijer, helped found the family retail enterprise headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, made a substantial contribution to help complete the funding package. Fred Meijer has a long-standing commitment to the dignity of the individual, and to the importance of humanity’s harmonious coexistence with the land.”
In the winter the trails are open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Fishing is allowed in designated sections of this park, but pets are not allowed.