Otsego County Parks and Recreation

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



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

    Gingell Road is currently closed due to road construction. To access the Louis M. Groen Nature Preserve take M-32 East into Johannesburg and turn left on Heatherton Road. Follow Heatherton Road. Follow Heatherton Road to Waters Road. Turn left on Waters Road.

    Hours of Operation

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

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.

Introduction to Shibori with Cheri Leach Friday June 12th 10:00am - 12:00pm

Open to youth 11 and older

Cost: $11.00 per person

Participation: Limited to 10 participants

Registration: Deadline to register is June 5th. Call Otsego County Parks & Recreation at (989) 732-6521 to register.

Attention all artisans and crafters! Come to the Louis M. Groen Nature Preserve to learn a beautiful fabric dyeing technique. Class participants will make two silk Shibori scarfs. Participants should wear old clothing that can be thrown away if they come in contact with Shibori dye.

Free Create Your Own Fairy or Gnome House Saturday July 11 10:00-12:00pm

Open to children 5-13 and their parents.

Free of charge

Registration: Registration deadline is June 22nd. Call (989) 732-6521 to register.

Join the Otsego County Parks & Recreation Department at the Louis M. Groen Nature Preserve to learn how to build enchanted fairy and gnome houses. Participants will discover the hidden secrets to building fairy and gnome houses including what style homes and building materials are preferred by fairies/gnomes and where to place these houses to attract the largest number of fairies.

Free Night Sky Presentation with Mary Stewart Adams Friday August 7th 8:30-10:30pm

Open to all ages. Free of charge. Registration is not required.

Every year the meteor shower season kicks off with the well-known Perseid Meteor Shower. Headlands International Dark Sky Park Program Director Mary Stewart Adams will lead us through the science and the story of the Perseids, as a way to get ready for the peak of the shower later in August. This program is interactive some come prepared to participate, and for August views of the Milky Way, the Summer constellations and this month's visible planets.

Free Wings of Wonder Owl Presentation with Rebecca Lessard Saturday August 15th 11:00-1:00pm

Open to children 5-13 and their parents, open to adults also. Free of charge.

Registration: Registration deadline is July 27th. Call (989) 732-6521 to register.

Come meet Rebecca Lessard and the resident owls at the Wings of Wonder Raptor Sanctuary. Rebecca introduces participants to the wonders of owls including what they eat, where they live, how they hunt and when/where to look for owls in the wild. After visiting with the owls from the Wings of Wonder, participants will dissect a real owl pellet.

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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