Otsego County Parks and Recreation

2043 Gingell Road, Johannesburg, MI  
(989) 705-2181  



  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowshoeing
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Equestrian

Louis M. Groen Nature Preserve Prohibited Activities

Click to read more about Mr. Louis M. Groen   

Groen Visioning Committee Meeting Minutes  

 Spring/Summer 2015 Events


Hands on Wildlife Demonstration and Animal Bingo Monday April 6th 1:00-3:00pm

 Open to youth 9-19 with their parents. Free of charge. Registration deadline is March 20th. Call the 4-H office to register at (989) 731-0273

Participants will be investigating pelts, replicas of skulls, scat and tracks of beaver, coyote, raccoon and rabbit. After a short discussion about the animals we will go for a hike in the woods and a game of animal bingo.

Build Your Own Bird House Friday April 10th 10:00  - 12:00pm

Open to youth 9-19 with their parents. Registration deadline is March 20th. Call 4-H at (989) 731-0273 to register

This hands-on activity will teach children some basic woodworking skills as they build and decorate their own bird houses. We also explore why bird houses are important and what type of birds might nest in the bird houses that we create.

Introduction to Nature Photography with Jan Kellogg Saturday May 30th from 9:00-2:00pm

Open to youth 16 & older

Cost: $25.00 per person

Participation is limited to 10 participants

Deadline to register is May 16th. Call (989) 732-6521 to register.

This class includes tips for getting the results you want from your camera such as composition, lighting, exposure, depth of field and how your camera's modes work. Participants will then spend time taking photos at the nature preserve. There will be a short lunch break followed by a photograph sharing session. Items to bring: camera ("point and shot" or DSLR), tripod (if you have one), macro lens ( if you have one), sack lunch, water, bug repellent & a hat.

Historic Photographs

Aerial Map of Phase 1


Phase 1 Property Photographs



Snowshoeing: We have 23 pairs of youth snowshoes and of 2 pairs of adult snowshoes available for a group outlng that can be used by Schools, Churches, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts etc. at no charge. To make a group reservation please call the Otsego County Community Center at (989) 732-6521

 Equestrian Use Rules: Equestrian uses allowed every Sunday and Monday of each month during Daylight Savings - Biking will not be allowed on those days

The Louis M. Groen Nature Preserve at Echo Valley Ranch will consist of almost 800 acres of property located in Johannesburg, Michigan. The property contains Kujawa and Johannesburg Lakes, along with being the former home of both the Johannesburg Manufacturing Company as well as Echo Valley Resort.

The first 764 acres were transferred to Otsego County for the first phase of the Nature Preserve. Phase 1 includes activities such as hiking, snow shoeing, and cross county skiing and equestrian. In addition tentative plans are to restore the historic sawmill, along with associated buildings, and help educate people about this important part of Johannesburg history. The entrance is located at the corner of Waters & Gingell Roads at the northeast corner of the property. The remaining property, which will allow for increased activities, will be transferred at a later date.

Mr. Groen's deep commitment to the property during his stewardship and the continuation thereof through the Louis M. Groen Nature Preserve emanates out of Mr. Groen's love and respect for nature, animals, and the outdoors. By making these arrangement for the care, custody and maintenance of the property, Mr. Groen is hopeful that generations of citizens of Otsego County will have the opportunity to enjoy, appreciate and respect these aspects of our community.

Otsego County, through the members of its Groen Visioning Committee, have begun working on long-range planning for the future Louis M. Groen Nature Preserve. Though a portion of the property remains in private ownership, the Committee has been established to create a plan for the property in anticipation of the future conveyance of the property as a public asset.


Kujawa Lake                                                  Property Trails

Please note that cell phone coverage is generally available except at lower elevations near the lake.


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