JD Allinder

Cherry Hill

In Posts on July 14, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Jane-Cherry-HillJane and I took our two-hour lunch break on this beautiful Michigan summer day at Cherry Hill Nature Preserve located at 6375 Cherry Hill Road. Though its address is Ypsilanti, the property is managed by the Superior Township Department of Parks and Recreation. Cherry Hill is approximately 160 acres of protected wetlands, meadow, and woods. I wear boots and long pants year-round at Cherry Hill, but you could probably get away with hiking or running shoes in the summer. I don’t recommend shorts, though, as some of the the trails can get pretty overgrown, and the mosquitoes and deer flies are out in full force. Many of the trails take on a labyrinth feel this time of year, but they’re pretty easy to navigate. Cherry Hill is a wonderful place for introducing kids to the great outdoors.

The most interesting walks at Cherry Hill are beyond the somewhat indiscernible boundaries of the property (and the ring of incongruous McMansions). There’s a 20-acre or so patch of wet, snake-filled woods to the north, and there’s at least a mile of private trails to the south that people have carved out for use on their own properties. It was on these private trails today that I ran into this curious deer.

Cherry-Hill-DeerFortunately Jane was preoccupied, so the deer and I got to observe each other in silence for about half a minute or so. Once Jane saw the deer, though, all hell broke loose. I let her chase the deer for a quarter of a mile or so, and I jogged along with her. We definitely earned our treats.

About ten years ago, Cherry Hill was one of my favorite places in the greater Ann Arbor area. It was very pure – just a tract of land left to its own devices. In the past few years, someone’s begun micromanaging the property. There are prefab foot bridges over creeks and signs all over the place about leashing your dog (whatever). This is nature lite. I don’t visit nearly as often as I used to because of this. I can still make great use of the land, but it just doesn’t have the same groovy vibe that it used to (and should still) have. It feels somehow corporate, like an antiseptic version of nature for people who are afraid to get dirty.

Anyway, I don’t want to be too down on the place. It is beautiful and home to a zillion creatures. If you visit after 6:00PM you’ll get to see tons of rabbits, groundhogs, and raccoons. In the afternoon it’s mostly deer and insects.

There’s no body of water at Cherry Hill (though creeks flow in fall and spring), but if you walk about a quarter of a mile west on Cherry Hill Road, just where the dirt and paved portions of the road meet, there’s a gorgeous lake to the south. Jane and I just discovered it last week, which is one of my favorite things about hiking: you can traverse the same trails year after year and keep having new adventures. Here’s Jane after a much needed swim.

Jane-LakeThis lake is one of my new favorite spots. It is pristine. It’s shady and breezy. It’s perfect. If anyone has any information about this lake, please fill me in.

  1. Thank you for another great tip on nature in the City! I forwarded this to my boyfriend, he’s a country boy in the City. We’ll be checking these places out.

  2. Look at that sweet girl! I had no idea that lake was there. Elsa and I are on it!

  3. We visited this park today! It was lovely! We got lost on the trails. (Yes, I was navigating.) But we enjoyed every minute! Even the skeeters weren’t too bad. Thank you so much for writing about these places!

  4. Hey~ Thanks for the nice comment. I’m glad you got to Cherry Hill today! It was a great day for a walk – nice and cool. Hope you didn’t get rained on.

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