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April 12, 2024

Oliver Family Nature Preserve

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In 2014 Bud (Floyd) and Ann Oliver gave the Cadillac Area Land Conservancy a 15 acre parcel of land on the outskirts of Harrietta to use as a preserve open to the public for hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities.




Photo 12 - Slagle CreekThis little gem has Slagel Creek running through it and gives access to the US Forest Service lands on its northern border.








Photo 11 - Railroad tracks

On this border was once the Great Lakes Central Railroad line known as the Toledo, Ann Arbor, and Northern Michigan Railway.







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Crossing the railroad tracks you enter a 78-acre parcel of The Huron Manistee National Forest. Since this area of the national forest has very limited public access, this preserve will allow better access and use of the federal property.















The preserve Address is just west of 5390 W. 30 ¼ Road in Harrietta near the corner of S. 13 1/2 Road.



Here are the Directions to the preserve: From the intersection of M-115 and 34 Rd travel West approximately 6 miles; turn North on 23 Rd and follow approximately 2 miles;




https://www.google.com/maps/place/5390+W+30+1%2F4+Rd,+Manistee+turn West on 30 ¼ Rd and follow approximately 4 miles to the Village of Harrietta; property borders the Village of Harrietta on the West and 30 ¼ Rd on the South.







Photo 13 - wetland

Bud remembers…

Bud’s grandfather built a home in Harrietta in the early 1900’s. The house is still there just behind the Village Hall. He remembers the large wood-burning stove used for cooking and heating and the milk/cream separator that he loved to crank, separating the cream for making butter and the skim milk to feed the farm animals.


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When his grandfather needed more land to pasture his milk cows, Bud’s father, Forrest, bought this 15-acre parcel for additional pasture.

As a young boy, Bud loved hiking this property, fishing on Slagle Creek and picking and eating the yummy blackberries that grew on the northern part of the property.










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When Bud’s grandfather died in 1940 the pasture became dormant so his father had several acres of Scotch and Red Pine trees planted on the land. Because of the ruggedness of the terrain, his father’s health, and Bud going off to high school and college and then moving to California, the potential Christmas trees were never properly cared for nor harvested.











Photo 16 - wildflower



Bud’s mother, Frances, left the property to him when she died in 1996, and the Olivers have now donated it to the Cadillac Area Land Conservancy.

“This preserve is open to the public. Leave only footprints, but please come visit this beautiful property!”






Additional Articles:


Fifteen volunteers planted over 400 wildlife friendly shrubs at the Oliver Family Preserve in Harrietta on April 30, 2016.


Thanks to board member Dan Valley’s organizational skills and natural resource background, the day went off like clockwork.

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The line-up of activities included pounding stakes, digging holes, planting bushes, wrapping the newly constructed protectors around the bushes, and watering. The protectors are not attractive, but are temporary and are needed so the deer don’t eat the seedlings.

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The volunteers worked over a six hour period and had a great sense of accomplishment by the end of the day.








Thanks to board member, Dan Valley, and the Career Tech Class of Mark Johnson at the Wexford Missaukee Intermediate School District, the trail at the Oliver Preserve is starting to take shape. Near the end of May 2016 it looked like this, but was wrapped up shortly thereafter. Look for more to come on the completed project.




While you are out at the preserve, look for the three bluebird boxes to see if any have been used.













For directions on how to find this preserve go to the above link: Public Preserves/Oliver Family Preserve


We’ve made improvements to the Oliver Family Preserve in Harrietta that will make your trip there much more pleasant! 

As you know, we have carved out a trail almost a half mile long with super water views much of the way. We spent hours pulling up roots and stumps that were tripping hazards. There are steps on both sides of the bridge over the Slagle Creek tributary. 

A bench donated by Ann Kahner overlooks this Slagle Creek tributary (located to the left of the new parking lot). It was provided by the Hansen Family Foundation and installed by E&S Construction. 



We are hoping for a good growing season so the new bushes planted in tubes will have a chance to provide habitat for animals. The front section was planted with rye and will be tilled under for planting of wildflowers and native grasses. This preserve was designed as a great place to go for quiet and solitude to regenerate from the daily stresses of your busy lives.

We are looking for a Volunteer: To keep the trail open and clear roots and plants that might trip people. Our conservancy owns a sturdy weed whacker that can be checked out of our downtown Cadillac office. Please see our contact information if you can help out!

This land is a small gem that has now become “user friendly.” We encourage you to visit it often to take advantage of this quiet woods and water oasis. 

Update May 2017

Wildflowers and Native Grasses Planted
at the entrance of the Oliver Family Preserve in Harrietta
Thanks to Tom Anderson and Bob Hess for planting wildflowers, native grasses and other plants known as carriers. This mixture of seeds has the name of “Pheasant Forever” mixture and is good for harboring wildlife. The land had to have much work done in order to get to the point of planting. However it will be much more pleasing to the eye for those that drive by.
The Main Field Being Seeded.
Main Field being Packed and Rolled after Seeding
Hopefully we will be able to post a photo soon with a field full of wild flowers and grasses.