Parsons Memorial Nature Sanctuary was donated in 1976 by Mahlon P. Parsons in memory of his wife, Alta, who had passed in 1971. Mahlon and Alta had originally purchased the land with another, adjacent parcel as a place to retire; when Alta died, Mahlon honored her love of nature and the outdoors by donating the 80 acres that became the sanctuary.
Parsons Memorial contains a variety of habitats, such as swamp, a stream, and a thick bog mat of cranberries, bog buckbean, and bog rosemary. Trees in the sanctuary include sassafras, large tooth aspen, red oak, white oak, basswood, and white pine. Wildflowers such as Indian cucumber root, Canada mayflower, foamflower, and trillium can also be seen.
Following one of the trails up a high, wooded ridge leads the visitor past the former location of the old sugar shack, where the Parsons family used to make maple syrup after tapping the sugar maple trees in the area. On the way up to the shack location, the ridge gives a view overlooking Furgeson Lake, which is partially in the sanctuary boundaries.
How to Get There:
From US-127, take US-10 West/MI-115 West and get off at the Old State Road exit. Turn north onto Old State Road, drive for about a mile, and then turn west onto Ziggy Road. From the first 90-degree bend in Ziggy Road, walk straight west toward Furgeson Lake on the short two-track/grassy area. Just before you reach the lake, you will see an entrance sign and the trail leading north along the lake.
For additional information, contact the MNA office at (866) 223-2231.