Warren Woods Natural Area
In 1879 and only seven years after the country’s first national park, Yellowstone, was established, Edward K. Warren was purchased Warren Woods. Warren at the time was a partner of a general store in Three Oaks and knew that the woods represented one of the last surviving stands of virgin beech and maple left in the state. Everything else had been logged.
Warren held onto the area, despite financial problems, and eventually he developed a process that substituted turkey-wing feathers for the increasingly scarce whalebone in women’s corsets. He set up the Warren Featherbone Company and made a fortune at the turn of the century. He promptly used much of his profits to buy duneland along Lake Michigan, which bankrupt farmers were letting go to the state for back taxes of less than $25.
The vision of this general-store merchant was incredible. Today the dunes that were worthless in the early 1900s are Warren Dunes State Park. That state park also manages his other acquisition; Warren Woods Natural Area.
Located 7 miles inland, this 311-acre wooded tract is a complete contrast to the state park on Lake Michigan; no towering dunes, but also no crowds, overflowing parking lots, and filled-to-capacity campgrounds. Amazingly, the natural area can be a quiet spot even at the height of the summer season when rangers are turning away visitors at the state park.
|Difficulty - Easy|