Chocolay Bayou Nature Preserve

The trails at the Chocolay Bayou Nature Preserve remain open for safe recreation during the “Stay Safe, Stay at Home” order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors must strictly adhere to the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing while on trails and follow posted visitation rules in order for us to keep the trails open for the community. Please do not use the Bayou Preserve to congregate but do remember that getting fresh air and exercise in a peaceful setting is vital to our physical and mental health.

Imagine a serene bayou,

The Chocolay Bayou Nature Preserve protects 13 acres of wetland that acts as a stopover for migrating birds. It lies directly between two bustling, expanding communities.

Chocolay Bayou colors birds-1

This riverside paradise houses mink, muskrat, black bear, deer, rare herons, eagles, and a startlingly diverse range of plant life.


The Bayou is is accessible by water via Lake Superior as well as the popular Chocolay River, and by two of the most popular trails in the Upper Peninsula, the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, and and the North Country National Scenic Trail.


This 13-acre area carries deep historical significance to the area, having once been the site of the first steam-powered sawmill and furnace in the area. The Chocolay River also signifies the treaty boundary from the 1842 “Copper Treaty” of La Pointe – the human-powered movement of the river channel opens many yet-unanswered questions.

The Chocolay Bayou Preserve is a Dream come true!


The Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy and more than 150 local organizations, businesses, and foundations worked together to raise $165,000 in less than four months to purchase the property! There are now three trails, a bird observation hut, signage designed by NMU students and local experts, and benches supported by the local trail organizations.

Now we need to raise and endow approximately $25,000 to ensure that we will be able to take care of this property forever. 

Click here to download a trail map and brochure

If you are interested in learning more, helping out in any way, or in donating to the perpetual care of the preserve, please contact us at (906) 225-8069 or email

It’s going to take the effort of the whole community to take care of this dream-come-true.

Keep checking back to this page, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for frequent updates!

Sponsorship Levels

Your donation is fully tax-deductible and we will send you a receipt to use for tax purposes.