Lake Avalon nature Preserve

Montmorency County

Consisting of about 20 acres in Hillman Township, Montmorency County, the preserve is located about 32 miles from Alpena and 54 miles from Gaylord. The property is on the east side of County Road 459, across the street from the Michigan DNR public access site on the east shore of Lake Avalon. The access site has a boat launch, dock, and a parking lot for 30 cars and trailers. Lake Avalon is part of the Thunder Bay watershed.


The 40-acre parcel across from the Michigan DNR public access site on Lake Avalon, from which the Lake Avalon preserve and the Ray Conservation Easement (CE) originated, came on the market in the late 1990's. Local residents and members of the Lake Avalon Property Owners Association became aware that an individual was interested in purchasing this piece for the purpose of developing a golf course and housing development. With a desire to protect this property from development and to safeguard the Lake Avalon watershed from possible water quality risks, an effort was made in the spring and summer of 1999 to raise money to purchase the parcel. Four months of fundraising resulted in enough money to purchase half of the 40-acre parcel; however an individual with similar goals as the Lake Avalon group expressed interest in purchasing the other 20 acres.

The Avalon Lake group approached HWLC and decided to donate funds in order to purchase the northern 20 acres as a nature preserve open to the public. The southern 20 acres was purchased by an individual and protected with a CE that limits development to one residence. In the long-term scope, it would be beneficial if this parcel could be sold with a conservation easement or given to the state in order to be incorporated into the state managed forest that is north of the property.


Presently, tree species consist of primarily of trembling aspen, red maple, red and white oak, and red and white pine. These trees are typical of mesic northern forest cover types found on Graycalm sands. The aspen and maple are approximately 25 years old and likely resulted from a commercial timber harvest. These trees are over-topped by red oak, the occasional white oak, red pine, and white pine, all left as residual canopy trees when acreage was cut.

Ground cover includes raspberry, blueberry, wild strawberry, sweet fern, wintergreen, trillium, polygala, bracken fern, and more. There is a significant amount of poison ivy near the roadside.

Planning a Visit

Please enjoy:

Hiking, snowshoeing, bird watching and other low impact recreational or educational activities and remember to keep an eye out for events! Visit and our Facebook page.


Please refrain from the following activities:

Camping, fires, dumping, littering, removing  vegetation, motorized vehicles, snowmobiling, horseback riding, hunting and biking.


From Gaylord, MI:

  • Travel east on M-32 for about 47 miles.
  • Turn left (north) on Old M-32/State St. and continue for 1.5 miles.
  • Turn left (west) on W. County Road 459 and continue for about 4 miles.

•             The preserve is just past Lake Avalon Road on the right (east) side of County Road 459. There is a parking area, walk around the gate to access trail.