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April 12, 2024

Carl T. Johnson Nature Preserve

Exciting news! CALC has added another preserve that will be open to the public!  The Carl T. Johnson Preserve, our third preserve, is 39 acres of prime wildlife habitat near the corner of Benson and 33 Roads across the road from the Mitchell Swamp, one of the best bear breeding nurseries in the state.   The property was bequeathed to the Rotary Club of Cadillac by Carl T. Johnson, local conservationist and steward of the land.  The Rotary Club has, in turn, given it to CALC  in order to open it to the public.

Carl T Johnson Preserve Map3

This winter there will be a selective timber harvest for good forest management. CALC is looking for public input on the development of this preserve and volunteers to help maintain it.  The proceeds from the timber sale will be shared with the Rotary Club.

Then CALC will begin working on their long term goal of making it a park-like setting made for exploring and roaming.  We envision trails, gravel parking spaces and other user-friendly improvements. As with our Waldeck Island Preserve, the neighbors will undoubtedly be its most frequent visitors and will hopefully help us maintain the preserve.

The parking lot for the preserve has been completed. You can locate its entrance south of Benson Road on 33 Rd.


Preserve blurb for web page



Carl T. Johnson, 1911-2008







Carl was well known throughout Michigan. In 1942 he was sworn in as the youngest mayor of Cadillac, an office he held until he resigned to enlist in the U.S. Cavalry.  Carl T. was instrumental in founding the Michigan Bear Hunters’ Association and was the founder of the Michigan Conservation Foundation.  In 1963 he was appointed to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission and served 17 years.  In 1969 he was recognized as one of the 10 most outstanding citizen conservationists in America and received a special award in Washington, D.C.   On May 16, 1992, a dream that Carl had for years – the Carl T. Johnson Hunting & Fishing Center – was dedicated in Cadillac.  To say that Carl T. enjoyed the out-of-doors would be an understatement.

“A Little Dab’ll do Ya!”