The smallest of three preserve that make up Hall’s Lake Natural Area, the 26 acre Harry E. “Gene” Neely & Olga Shiraef Neely Preserve was established in 2008. Located in Broomfield Township, Isabella County, this preserve protects 1,400 feet of Hall’s Lake shoreline and scenic viewscapes and 2,000 feet of historic Old State Road. Portions of the original corduroy logs can be seen on the roadway along the preserve. Originally 22 acres, this preserve was expanded to 26 acres thanks to a contribution of 4 acres by John A. Kabana in 2013.
This forested preserve hosts a variety of woodland and wetland plant species including Tamarack, Bunchberry, Starflower, Nodding Trillium, and Ghost Pipe and is a safe harbor for migrating warblers and other passerines in spring and fall. Other wildlife you may see on the preserve include deer, coyote, fox, and bobcat. A large cottonwood tree located near the west edge of small pine plantation has traditionally been used as a den site by porcupine.
Hikers seeking solitude should definitely consider visiting Hall’s Lake Natural Area. More than two miles of trails link Neely Preserve with the Kabana and Schaftenaar Preserves to the north. Ongoing improvements to the trail include installation of segments of boardwalk and rerouting the trail away from low areas.