The public is invited to the grand opening of the Leslee Niethammer Saline River Preserve Sunday afternoon.
A ribbon cutting is scheduled for 2 p.m.
The preserve, owned by York Township and maintained by the Friends of the Saline River, is located at 9000 South Maple Road, just west of Saline-Milan Road.
“We’d like everyone to come to the opening for the ribbon cutting and then take some time to walk around our trails,” said David Rhoads, a member of the Friends of the Saline River. The preserve is named for his late wife, Leslee Niethammer, who was director of the Saline District Library for more than 25 years.
Parking will be available on the side of Maple Road.
After Sunday, the 17.4-acre preserve will be open to the public from dawn to dusk every day.
There are four trails at the preserve. The main trail in the meadow is called the Meadow Loop Trail. A trail along Spring Brook is called the Iris Detter Trail. A trail on the western edge of the property is the Bur Oak Trail. The last trail heads north to toward the Saline River. It’s called the Charlie Burg River Trail, because it loops around the former location of Burg’s trailer.
“If one were to walk all the trails, it would a little more than a mile,” Rhoads said. “It’s a nice walk. Some trails go through the woods, another goes along the river. It’s a place to go to photograph things, to see the wildlife and vegetation. It can be a place for someone looking for a quiet spot to meditate.”
Alcoholic beverages, firearms, fireworks, hunting, motorized vehicles and fires are prohibited on the property. Dogs are permitted on a leash and owners must remove all waste.
The land was owned by Charlie Burg, who lived in a trailer on the property until passing away in 2013. Jim Peters, an avid hiker and former member of Saline City Council, often visited Charlie on the property. After Burg’s death Peters approached Rhoads about buying the property. Rhoads bought the property and later sold the property to the Friends of the Saline River, who deeded the property to York Township.
In the future, there are plans to create a trail on the DRN Fisheries property that would link the preserve to Salt Springs Park.