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Boardman Valley Nature Preserve


The 158-acre Boardman Valley Nature Preserve (BVNP) is located along both sides of the Boardman River south of Airport Road, and includes opportunities for hiking, fishing, canoeing/kayaking, tennis, beach volleyball, soccer, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hunting (with prior Township approval), and nature watching. The Reserve was established in 2002 with money received from a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant, and includes over a mile of Boardman River frontage and around 1.5 miles of unpaved hiking trails on the west side of the river. Another 2009 Trust Fund Grant expanded the park to the east side of the river.

The Township then closed on two grant-assisted property additions to this park, including the peninsula of land behind Verizon Wireless on S. Airport Road, and a parcel on Keystone Road which will provide access to the land already owned on the east riverbank. The Township also hired a consultant to prepare a conceptual park plan for the new Keystone property. In addition to simply being a parking area and trailhead, this parcel has the potential to be developed into a gem of a recreation area to serve residents on the eastern side of the Township. 

A Trust Fund grant request for improvements to the BVNP in the vicinity of the "Boardman Y" scored 4th highest out of all development applications in the state. This grant is a development project at the BVNP to enhance public access to and enjoyment of the Boardman River and to provide a trailhead for the Boardman River Trail. The trailhead will serve both as a water trailhead and a non-motorized trailhead. All improvements will be universally accessible and include parking, paths, floating kayak dock/launch, picnic pavilion, changing building and modern vault restroom, interpretive signs and trail maps and renovation of the existing pickleball courts. The project will be completed in June of 2019.


Abutting the Garfield Nature Reserve directly to the south is the Grand Traverse County Natural Education Reserve, offering an additional 400-plus acres of land and seven miles of improved pathways.  Including the portion of the Natural Education Reserve facility that is within Blair Township, these two areas offer more nearly 600-acres of natural area and over eight miles of trails! Link to Grand Traverse County Natural Education Reserve 


Boardman River - photo credit T. O'BrienAs you hike these trails you'll follow the river closely in spots, walk through stands of cedar trees and over wooden bridges, pass wetlands, and cross meadows. Scattered throughout the cedar groves are numerous picnic tables for a shaded lunch spot! Also dispersed along the trail are a number of observation/fishing decks overlooking the river.


The Boardman Valley Nature Preserve is currently accessed via the parking lot adjacent to the OLD YMCA on Racquet Club Drive. Public restrooms are available within the YMCA building. For recreational opportunities at the YMCA, please follow this link: Grand Traverse Bay YMCA


Did you know? The world-famous Adams dry fly, which has helped anglers land countless trout, was created in 1922 by local fly tier Leonard Halladay and first used on the Boardman River by Charles F. Adams!  Cool!

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This page last updated on 5/26/2022.

3848 Veterans Drive | Traverse City, MI 49684 | 231-941-1620 | fax: 231-941-1588