Miller Creek Nature Reserve
Just behind the Grand Traverse Crossings Mall on South Airport Road, you can find the 88-acre Miller Creek Nature Reserve. Recreational opportunities at this park include hiking, nature watching, hunting (with prior Township approval), cross county skiing, and snowshoeing.
The trails at the Miller Creek Natural area pass through a former Red Pine plantation, skirt the edges of open meadows, wind through beautiful beech forests, cross boardwalks though cedar swamps, and follow Miller Creek, a tributary of the Boardman River. Very shortly, the trails at Miller Creek will be linked to the miles of trails within the Boardman Valley Nature Preserve via a connection across Cass Road at Dairy Square Drive.
This park was developed in phases, first as an open space and conservation element of the Crossings Mall, and expanded as a conservation element of the Arbors Apartments development on Hartman Road.
There are currently two trailheads accessed via the Crossings Mall; one behind the new Planet Fitness and one near the Faith Reformed Church on Crossing Circle Drive. The trails can also be reached starting at the northwest corner of the former Sabin Elementary School at the intersection of Hartman and Cass Roads. Public restrooms are not available on site.
The Township hired a consultant to prepare a conceptual design for a new trailhead and attention-grabbing features for land owned near the Aldi store on South Airport Road. We believe that public awareness and enjoyment of this beautiful 90-acre park is still lacking, so the new trailhead is intended to draw people in and alert them of this park that is located right behind the Grand Traverse Crossings Mall. The conceptual plan included some really interesting ideas that we can begin to implement in 2016, including landscape buffering to shield from South Airport Road traffic noise, a pergola/seating area intended to draw the eye, additional trail/boardwalk improvements to allow for quick jaunts through beautiful wetlands, and better access to a small fishing pond. In addition, some trail rerouting was completed to move the trail farther away from the backyards of some of the Emerald Ridge condominiums.