#MITrailsWeek: Neithercut Woodland

Located on M-115 about 10 miles northwest of Clare, the Neithercut Woodland is another roadside recreation opportunity that offers travelers the chance to get out of their car, get some fresh air and take advantage of a remarkable natural area.

Preserved and maintained by the Central Michigan University College of Science and Technology and the Friends of Neithercut Woodland, this 252-acre tract of land is dedicated to education, research and use by the general public. Visitors are encouraged to walk slowly, listen to the sounds of nature, and “leave only footprints behind.”

There are four trails available for recreation and exploring, offering trail lengths that range from ¼-mile to 2.1 miles. The natural features that can be observed include a stream, seasonal pond, marsh area and a great variety of tree species. In addition to leaving a light footprint, hikers are reminded to bring water, stay on the trails, and pay attention to the colored diamonds and numbers on trees (these are helpful in an emergency describing one’s location). There are also signs advising that black bears and cubs have been seen in the area.

My visit was just after an intense rainstorm and the sense of quiet tranquility was truly refreshing. The ¼ mile, barrier-free Freedom Trail led me toward an opening in the forest that was just starting to reawaken after the storm when I discovered it. It was a great place to take a few moments to enjoy a walk and feel like an explorer.

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