For-Mar Nature Preserve In Michigan

Here is everything you need to know about the For-Mar Nature Preserve:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Michigan
  • Length: 3.7 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: Genesee County Parks & Recreation Commission
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website:

The For-Mar Nature Preserve, located in Genesee County, Michigan, has a rich and fascinating history that dates back several centuries. The land on which the preserve now stands was originally inhabited by the Ojibwe and Potawatomi Native American tribes. These tribes relied on the area’s abundant natural resources for sustenance and utilized the land for hunting, fishing, and gathering.

In the early 19th century, European settlers began to arrive in the region, and the land eventually came under the ownership of the For-Mar family. The preserve’s name is derived from the combination of the family’s last name, “For,” and the first name of the family matriarch, Margaret, resulting in “For-Mar.” The For-Mar family recognized the unique beauty and ecological significance of the land and took steps to preserve it.

In the mid-20th century, the Genesee County Parks Commission acquired the For-Mar property, recognizing its potential as a nature preserve. The commission aimed to protect the area’s diverse ecosystems and provide educational opportunities for the community. Over the years, the preserve has undergone various developments, including the establishment of nature trails, educational programs, and the construction of a visitor center.

Today, the For-Mar Nature Preserve continues to serve as a vital resource for environmental education and conservation. Visitors can explore its diverse habitats, including woodlands, wetlands, and prairies, while learning about the region’s natural history. The preserve’s historical significance, coupled with its commitment to environmental stewardship, makes it a cherished destination for nature enthusiasts and a testament to the importance of preserving our natural heritage.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. For-Mar Nature Preserve Visitor Center: This is the main access point to the preserve and offers parking, restrooms, and information about the trails.

2. Genesee Valley Trailhead: Located near the Visitor Center, this trailhead provides access to the Genesee Valley Trail, a 2.5-mile loop trail that winds through the preserve.

3. Woodland Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Woodland Shelter and provides access to the Woodland Trail, a 1.5-mile loop trail that showcases the preserve’s diverse woodland habitats.

4. Wetland Trailhead: Located near the Wetland Shelter, this trailhead offers access to the Wetland Trail, a 1-mile loop trail that explores the preserve’s wetland areas and offers opportunities for birdwatching.

5. Prairie Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Prairie Shelter and provides access to the Prairie Trail, a 1.5-mile loop trail that traverses the preserve’s restored prairie habitats.

6. Butterfly Garden Trailhead: Located near the Butterfly Garden, this trailhead offers access to the Butterfly Garden Trail, a short loop trail that showcases native plants and attracts various butterfly species.

7. Children’s Garden Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Children’s Garden and provides access to the Children’s Garden Trail, a short loop trail that offers interactive nature experiences for kids.

8. Sensory Garden Trailhead: Located near the Sensory Garden, this trailhead offers access to the Sensory Garden Trail, a short loop trail that engages visitors’ senses through various plantings and features.

9. Arboretum Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Arboretum and provides access to the Arboretum Trail, a loop trail that showcases a variety of tree species and offers educational signage.

10. Wildlife Habitat Trailhead: Located near the Wildlife Habitat Area, this trailhead offers access to the Wildlife Habitat Trail, a loop trail that explores the preserve’s diverse habitats and provides opportunities for wildlife viewing.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the For-Mar Nature Preserve. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads within the preserve as well.

Transportation Available

1. Uber – On-demand ridesharing service.
2. Lyft – Ride-hailing service providing transportation options.
3. Taxi – Traditional taxi service available for transportation needs.
4. Genesee County Transit Authority (GCTA) – Public bus service serving the area.
5. Zipcar – Car-sharing service offering hourly or daily rentals.
6. Lime – Electric scooter and bike-sharing service for short-distance travel.
7. Flint Bishop International Airport – Nearby airport providing domestic and international flights.
8. Greyhound – Intercity bus service connecting various destinations.
9. Amtrak – Train service offering regional and long-distance travel options.
10. Enterprise Rent-A-Car – Car rental service for longer-term transportation needs.


The amenities available at the For-Mar Nature Preserve include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available for visitors.

2. Parking: There is ample parking space provided for visitors’ vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: For-Mar Nature Preserve offers camping sites for those who wish to stay overnight. These sites may require reservations.

4. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas with tables and benches where visitors can enjoy their meals or snacks.

5. Trails: The preserve has well-maintained trails for hiking, walking, or jogging.

6. Nature Center: For-Mar Nature Preserve has a nature center that provides educational exhibits and programs for visitors.

7. Wildlife Viewing: Visitors can observe and enjoy the diverse wildlife that inhabits the preserve.

8. Bird Watching: For-Mar Nature Preserve is a great spot for birdwatching, with various species of birds to observe.

9. Fishing: There are fishing opportunities available at the preserve’s ponds or lakes.

10. Educational Programs: The preserve offers educational programs and workshops for all ages, focusing on nature, conservation, and environmental awareness.

11. Nature Play Area: For children, there is a nature-themed play area where they can engage in outdoor play and exploration.

12. Gardens: The preserve features beautiful gardens, including a butterfly garden and various themed gardens.

13. Nature Store: There is a nature store where visitors can purchase books, souvenirs, and other nature-related items.

14. Photography: For photography enthusiasts, For-Mar Nature Preserve provides picturesque landscapes and wildlife photography opportunities.

15. Dog-Friendly Areas: There are designated areas where visitors can bring their dogs, provided they are on a leash and cleaned up after.

Please note that amenities may be subject to change or have specific rules and regulations. It is always recommended to check with the preserve’s official website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Residence Inn Flint Grand Blanc: Extended-stay hotel offering comfortable accommodations near For-Mar Nature Preserve.
2. Courtyard by Marriott Flint Grand Blanc: Modern hotel with convenient amenities located close to For-Mar Nature Preserve.
3. Holiday Inn Express Flint-Campus Area: Budget-friendly hotel providing comfortable rooms and complimentary breakfast near For-Mar Nature Preserve.
4. Red Roof Inn Flint – Bishop Airport: Affordable lodging option with basic amenities and easy access to For-Mar Nature Preserve.
5. Genesys Conference & Banquet Center: Event venue offering catering services and accommodations for conferences near For-Mar Nature Preserve.
6. Subway: Fast-food chain serving sandwiches and salads, located near For-Mar Nature Preserve.
7. McDonald’s: Popular fast-food restaurant offering burgers, fries, and more, conveniently located close to For-Mar Nature Preserve.
8. Taco Bell: Mexican-inspired fast-food chain serving tacos, burritos, and more, situated near For-Mar Nature Preserve.
9. Wendy’s: Fast-food restaurant known for its burgers, chicken sandwiches, and salads, located near For-Mar Nature Preserve.
10. Kroger: Grocery store providing a wide range of food and supplies, including fresh produce, near For-Mar Nature Preserve.
11. Walgreens: Pharmacy and convenience store offering various essentials and medications, conveniently located close to For-Mar Nature Preserve.
12. McLaren Flint Hospital: Full-service hospital providing emergency medical services and healthcare facilities near For-Mar Nature Preserve.
13. Hurley Medical Center: Acute care hospital offering emergency services and medical care near For-Mar Nature Preserve.
14. Genesys Emergency Department: Emergency medical services and urgent care facility located near For-Mar Nature Preserve.
15. Grand Blanc Fire Department: Local fire department providing emergency response services near For-Mar Nature Preserve.

For-Mar Nature Preserve Difficulty Notes

The For-Mar Nature Preserve offers a range of difficulty levels suitable for all types of visitors. With over 383 acres of diverse landscapes, including woodlands, wetlands, and prairies, there are trails and paths to accommodate various fitness levels and interests. For those seeking a leisurely stroll, the paved trails provide easy access to the beauty of the preserve. More adventurous hikers can explore the unpaved trails that wind through the forest, offering a moderate level of difficulty with some inclines and uneven terrain. Additionally, the preserve offers educational programs and guided hikes for all ages, making it accessible and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of their fitness level or experience in nature.

Features And Attractions

1. For-Mar Nature Preserve: The preserve itself offers beautiful scenic views with its lush greenery, meadows, and wooded areas.

2. Butterfly House: Located within the preserve, the Butterfly House is a popular attraction where visitors can observe various species of butterflies in a controlled environment.

3. For-Mar Nature Preserve Trails: The preserve has several well-maintained trails that offer scenic views of the surrounding landscape, including forests, wetlands, and the Thread Creek.

4. Thread Creek: This creek runs through the preserve, providing a serene and picturesque setting for visitors to enjoy.

5. Historic Barn: For-Mar Nature Preserve is home to a historic barn that dates back to the early 1900s. The barn adds a touch of history and charm to the preserve.

6. Native American Mounds: The preserve contains several Native American burial mounds, which are of historical and cultural significance.

7. Wildlife Observation Areas: For-Mar Nature Preserve is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including birds, mammals, and reptiles. There are designated areas within the preserve where visitors can observe and appreciate these animals in their natural habitat.

8. For-Mar Nature Preserve Visitor Center: The visitor center provides information about the preserve’s history, wildlife, and conservation efforts. It also offers educational exhibits and programs for visitors of all ages.

9. For-Mar Nature Preserve Gardens: The preserve features beautifully landscaped gardens, including a sensory garden and a children’s garden, which are perfect for leisurely walks and relaxation.

10. For-Mar Nature Preserve Pond: The pond within the preserve is a tranquil spot where visitors can enjoy the sight of waterfowl, turtles, and other aquatic life.

11. For-Mar Nature Preserve Arboretum: The arboretum showcases a variety of trees and plants, providing a peaceful and educational experience for nature enthusiasts.

12. For-Mar Nature Preserve Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas within the preserve where visitors can enjoy a meal surrounded by nature’s beauty.

13. For-Mar Nature Preserve Nature Play Area: This area is designed for children to engage in nature-based play activities, encouraging them to explore and connect with the natural environment.

14. For-Mar Nature Preserve Fishing Pond: Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy catch-and-release fishing at the preserve’s fishing pond, which is stocked with various fish species.

15. For-Mar Nature Preserve Educational Programs: The preserve offers a range of educational programs, including guided hikes, nature workshops, and wildlife presentations, providing visitors with an opportunity to learn more about the natural world.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Pet waste must be cleaned up and properly disposed of.
3. Hunting and trapping are strictly prohibited.
4. Fishing is allowed only in designated areas and with a valid fishing license.
5. Swimming or wading in ponds, streams, or other bodies of water is not permitted.
6. Camping or overnight stays are not allowed.
7. Fires are only permitted in designated fire pits or grills.
8. Bicycles, skateboards, and motorized vehicles are restricted to designated trails.
9. Collection or removal of plants, animals, rocks, or artifacts is strictly prohibited.
10. Use of firearms, fireworks, or other explosive devices is not allowed.
11. Alcohol consumption is prohibited, except in designated areas during special events.
12. Use of drones or other unmanned aerial vehicles is not permitted.
13. Respect and follow all posted signs and instructions from park staff.
14. Visitors are responsible for their own safety and should exercise caution on trails and around natural features.
15. Seasonal restrictions may apply to certain activities or areas, such as closures during breeding seasons or extreme weather conditions.

Seasonal Information

For-Mar Nature Preserve is a stunning destination that offers a unique experience throughout the year. Located in Genesee County, Michigan, this 383-acre preserve is a haven for nature enthusiasts and families alike. The best times to visit For-Mar Nature Preserve largely depend on personal preferences and the activities you wish to engage in.

Spring is a delightful time to explore For-Mar Nature Preserve, as the landscape bursts into life with vibrant colors and blossoming flowers. The weather is mild, making it perfect for hiking the numerous trails that wind through the preserve. Spring also brings an array of migratory birds, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. The preserve offers guided birding tours during this season, providing an opportunity to spot a variety of species.

Summer is another popular time to visit For-Mar Nature Preserve, especially for families. The preserve offers various educational programs and summer camps for children, allowing them to learn about nature and wildlife in a fun and interactive way. The trails are perfect for leisurely walks, and the picnic areas provide a great spot for a family outing. However, it’s worth noting that summer can be busy, so it’s advisable to arrive early to secure parking and avoid crowds.

As for seasonal closures, For-Mar Nature Preserve typically remains open year-round. However, certain facilities and activities may have specific operating hours or closures during the winter months. The visitor center and some educational programs may have limited availability during this time. It’s always recommended to check the preserve’s website or contact their staff for the most up-to-date information on closures and operating hours.

In conclusion, For-Mar Nature Preserve offers something for everyone throughout the year. Whether you prefer the vibrant colors of spring, the family-friendly activities of summer, or the tranquility of winter, this preserve is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. With its diverse wildlife, beautiful trails, and educational programs, For-Mar Nature Preserve promises an unforgettable experience in every season.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Trails: For-Mar Nature Preserve offers several trails that are designed to be accessible for wheelchair users, allowing them to explore the natural beauty of the preserve.
2. Accessible Parking: The preserve provides designated accessible parking spaces close to the main entrance, ensuring convenient access for individuals with mobility challenges.
3. Accessible Restrooms: For-Mar Nature Preserve offers accessible restrooms equipped with features such as grab bars and wider doorways to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
4. Wheelchair Rental: The preserve provides wheelchair rental services, allowing visitors who do not have their own wheelchair to explore the trails and facilities.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: For-Mar Nature Preserve offers accessible picnic areas with tables and benches designed to accommodate individuals using wheelchairs.
6. Service Animal Accommodation: The preserve welcomes service animals and ensures they are accommodated in compliance with ADA regulations.
7. Accessible Visitor Center: The visitor center at For-Mar Nature Preserve is designed to be accessible, with ramps, wide doorways, and accessible exhibits for individuals with disabilities.
8. Signage and Information: The preserve provides accessible signage and information throughout the facility, including braille and large print materials, to ensure equal access to information for all visitors.
9. Accessible Programs and Events: For-Mar Nature Preserve offers inclusive programs and events that are designed to be accessible for individuals with disabilities, promoting equal participation and engagement.
10. Staff Assistance: The preserve has trained staff members who are available to provide assistance and support to visitors with disabilities, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all.

Safety Information

When visiting the For-Mar Nature Preserve, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Stay on designated trails: Stick to marked paths and trails to avoid getting lost or disturbing the natural habitat. Venturing off-trail can lead to accidents or damage to sensitive ecosystems.

2. Dress appropriately: Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes or boots to protect your feet from potential hazards like rocks, roots, or thorny plants. Dress in layers and consider wearing long pants and sleeves to protect against ticks, poison ivy, or other irritants.

3. Stay hydrated: Carry an adequate supply of water, especially during hot weather or strenuous activities. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, or heat-related illnesses.

4. Be aware of wildlife: Respect the wildlife and observe them from a safe distance. Do not approach or feed animals, as it can disrupt their natural behavior and pose risks to both you and the animals.

5. Use insect repellent: Apply insect repellent to protect yourself from ticks, mosquitoes, or other biting insects. Check for ticks after your visit and remove them promptly to reduce the risk of tick-borne diseases.

6. Be cautious around water bodies: If the preserve has ponds, lakes, or streams, be cautious around water bodies. Do not swim unless it is explicitly allowed and supervised. Be aware of potential hazards like slippery rocks, strong currents, or deep water.

7. Carry a map and know your limits: Familiarize yourself with the preserve’s layout and carry a map if available. Plan your visit according to your physical abilities and be mindful of your limitations. Inform someone about your plans and estimated return time if you are hiking alone.

8. Practice Leave No Trace principles: Respect the environment by leaving no trace of your visit. Pack out all trash, dispose of waste properly, and avoid damaging or removing any plants, rocks, or artifacts.

9. Be prepared for emergencies: Carry a fully charged cell phone, a basic first aid kit, and any necessary medications. Familiarize yourself with the preserve’s emergency procedures and contact information.

10. Follow all posted rules and regulations: Pay attention to any signs or notices posted within the preserve. These may include rules about pets, camping, fires, or other specific guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety and preserve the natural environment.

Remember, safety is paramount when visiting any natural preserve. By being prepared, respectful, and mindful of your surroundings, you can have an enjoyable and safe experience at the For-Mar Nature Preserve.

Conservation Notes

The For-Mar Nature Preserve, located in Genesee County, Michigan, is considered to have a stable conservation status. The preserve spans over 383 acres of diverse habitats, including woodlands, wetlands, and meadows, providing a haven for a wide range of plant and animal species. The conservation efforts implemented within the preserve have contributed to maintaining the ecological balance and protecting the biodiversity of the area.

One of the key factors contributing to the stable conservation status of For-Mar Nature Preserve is the active management practices employed by the staff and volunteers. These practices include regular monitoring of the flora and fauna, invasive species control, and habitat restoration. By closely monitoring the preserve’s ecosystems, any potential threats or disturbances can be identified and addressed promptly, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the area.

Additionally, the For-Mar Nature Preserve has implemented educational programs and initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of conservation. These programs aim to engage the local community and visitors, fostering a sense of responsibility towards the preservation of the natural environment. By promoting environmental education and encouraging sustainable practices, the preserve plays a vital role in ensuring the conservation status remains stable for future generations to enjoy.

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