What to See
This little-known park features a hardwood-pine forest with mature tulip trees. There are also pockets of wetlands and in the northwest there is an open “blow-sand” area that is a good reminder of how the land was left after the logging era.
The northern portion of the property has an old farmstead, a large man-made pond, wetlands, and blueberry fields where you can pick blueberries in the summer.
There are old two-track roads winding through the north part of the property, but only a short spur trail into southern natural area, so hikers must go off-trail to explore this area at this time.
Conservation Value This scenic property helps preserve the area’s natural and rural character, which is especially important as neighboring properties continue to be developed residentially. The juxtaposition of wetland, upland, and old field habitats increases the diversity of birds and plants one can see on the property.
What's New The Township is planning to develop additional loop trails on this property in the future.
History In the 1950s, Manuel and Lilah Huyser purchased this property. At the time, much of it was open “blow sand” – barren, sandy rolling hills, created when the area was logged and then burned at the turn of the last century.
The Huysers planted tens of thousands of pines to slow the soil erosion, created blueberry fields, orchards, and a garden, built their house using timber from the property, and kept a large part of the land in its natural beech/maple forested condition.
Located at a busy intersection, the Huyser’s U-Pick blueberry farm became well known to many in the Saugatuck and Holland areas.
The Huysers worked hard to leave their land in better shape than when it was first acquired. In their later years, they decided to work with the Land Conservancy to protect their land through a conservation easement in order to preserve the land’s natural and rural character. It was also important to them to allow a future owner to use the property for a residence, farming, or non-destructive recreation since they spent many productive and enjoyable years on the farm.
This beautiful property was preserved in 2000, when the Land Conservancy worked with the Huyser estate to place a conservation easement on it before it was transferred to the township for use as a park.
To find the park, look for a parking lot off of 64th Street just south of the intersection with 142nd Avenue, just 2 ½ miles north of the first stoplight west of Exit 41 on I-196.