NOTE: We want to inform everyone that the Preserve will be closed until further notice. We currently have over 100 trees that have fallen on the property. The majority of those trees are either blocking the trails or are a safety hazard to those walking the trails at the Preserve. We appreciate your understanding and we look forward to seeing you all again very soon.
Snowshoeing: We have 23 pairs of youth snowshoes and 2 pairs of adults snowshoes available for rental at the visitor center. $3.00 per person or $10.00 per family all day rental.
Group outings such as school groups, youth groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts etc. may use the snowshoes for no charge. To make a group reservation please Contact Us.
Equestrian Use Rules: Equestrian uses allowed every Sunday and Monday of each month during Daylight Savings - Biking will not be allowed on those days
The Louis M. Groen Nature Preserve at Echo Valley Ranch will consist of almost 800 acres of property located in Johannesburg, Michigan. The property contains Kujawa and Johannesburg Lakes, along with being the former home of both the Johannesburg Manufacturing Company as well as Echo Valley Resort.
The first 764 acres were transferred to Otsego County for the first phase of the Nature Preserve. Phase 1 includes activities such as hiking, snow shoeing, and cross county skiing and equestrian. In addition tentative plans are to restore the historic sawmill, along with associated buildings, and help educate people about this important part of Johannesburg history. The entrance is located at the corner of Waters & Gingell Roads at the northeast corner of the property. The remaining property, which will allow for increased activities, will be transferred at a later date.
Mr. Groen's deep commitment to the property during his stewardship and the continuation thereof through the Louis M. Groen Nature Preserve emanates out of Mr. Groen's love and respect for nature, animals, and the outdoors. By making these arrangement for the care, custody and maintenance of the property, Mr. Groen is hopeful that generations of citizens of Otsego County will have the opportunity to enjoy, appreciate and respect these aspects of our community.
Otsego County, through the members of its Groen Visioning Committee, have begun working on long-range planning for the future Louis M. Groen Nature Preserve. Though a portion of the property remains in private ownership, the Committee has been established to create a plan for the property in anticipation of the future conveyance of the property as a public asset.