CEDAR — It’s a striking landscape.
Like the setting for a fairy tale, really. And it’s the ideal place for a forest immersion walk to bathe in the benefits of the woods.
Nonprofit Leelanau Conservancy will host weekends of guided hikes as summer programs begin to round out for the season.
First, a slow walk through the Swanson Preserve is set for Saturday, Aug. 24, followed by a wildflower walk to see cardinal flowers aglow at the Teichner Preserve on Sunday, Aug. 25. Finally, a late summer hike will be at DeYoung Natural Area on Saturday, Aug. 31.
“We have an amazing group of docents who lead hikes, especially on the weekends,” said Becky Hill, the conservancy’s director of natural areas and preserves.
Docents Shelley Yeager, Sharon Oriel and Mary Tris will lead the saunter planned for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Swanson Preserve on South Manitou Trail in Cedar.
“It’s a beautiful trail and it ends up at Little Traverse Lake,” Hill said.
There is a boardwalk that passes through a wetlands and cedar forest, and crosses a pair of small creeks where brook trout spawn. The site is also known to host rare fern species, river otters, marsh birds and abundant waterfowl.
“It has all these wonderful streams that appear and disappear as they feed Little Traverse Lake,” said Oriel, a Glen Arbor resident.
Oriel said it’s not a long walk, but one that demonstrates the spot’s pristine wetlands and incredible biodiversity.
Participants in the forest immersion walk are encouraged to wear older clothes, bring insect repellent and be prepared to get a bit dirty.
On Sunday, Tris will join fellow docent Karl Hausler for another guided walk at 2 p.m. through the ecologically rich Teichner Preserve, also known for its rare fern species.
But the expected show of the afternoon will be from the native cardinal flower, known to display bright, red color and be dependent on hummingbirds for pollination.
“They are just so red, the most vibrant red you can imagine,” Hill said. “It’s just so striking.”
Wildflower lovers interested in seeing a large group of the summer blooms should check out this event, she said.
Finally, the Aug. 31 hike at DeYoung Natural Area will begin at 10 a.m. and will take participants over fields, forests and hills at the old farm’s upland trail.
All the guided hikes are free to participants, though the conservancy appreciates sign-ups at www.leelanauconservancy.org under the link for events, or by calling 231-256-9665.