Established in 2022, the approximately 17 acre Mill Pond Natural Area – Walter and Frances Bolle Preserve is located along the Chippewa River within the City of Mt. Pleasant. Linked with properties owned by the City of Mt. Pleasant and Central Michigan University, the preserve forms part of a protected riparian corridor through the city. The Preserve will be managed to maximize the natural growth of native species, preserve scenic views, serve as protected wildlife habitat, and provide nature education and non-motorized recreational opportunities. Parking and trail access is located at Chipp-A-Waters Park, a city park located adjacent to the preserve, at 1403 W. High Street.
The property was purchased from the family of Walter H. Bolle. Mr. Bolle of Clare, MI operated the Honegger and Company Mill (formerly Harris’ Mill) at 411 W. Broadway Street until his death in 1982. The Bolle family retained whole or partial ownership of the preserve property since the 1980s. The property is located in the floodplain of the Chippewa River and has been mostly unused in the past century.
The property was purchased with the assistance of a grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation. In addition to the purchase, the grant will fund five years of site restoration including the removal of invasive species and the reintroduction of native plant. Initial restoration focus (2022) will be on canopy species to replace ash lost due to emerald ash borer infestation, with later efforts (2023 – 2026) to include understory trees, shrubs, and forbs.