Pilgrim Haven grand opening to be celebrated in South Haven

Pilgrim Haven Natural Area is ready for the public. A grand opening of the natural area is set for 3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12.  The event is hosted by the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy and South Haven Area Recreation Authority

Pilgrim Haven Natural Area is a 27-acre nature preserve on the Lake Michigan shoreline in South Haven. It is one of the largest remaining natural areas on Lake Michigan and features almost 800 linear feet of beach, a stretch of Dyckman Creek running through a forested upland, and a critical dune habitat.
The public is invited to enjoy the area 365 days a year from dawn to dusk. It features an accessible parking lot, a barrier-free walkway to the beach including a mob mat to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. The is also an electric gate entrance to Pilgrim Haven. 

The grand opening event will mark the transfer of management and maintenance of the natural area from SWMLC to SHARA. SHARA will take over the daily management and maintenance of the preserve. “We anticipate the next phase will begin sometime this fall,”  says Ross Stein, SHARA Chair, and South Haven Charter Township Supervisor. 

SWMLC retains ownership and will continue to care for the natural areas on the preserve. It will focus on the ecology of the forest’s understory and the protection of the dune.

Officials from SHARA will also share the next phase of improvements planned to make the preserve.

Pilgrim Haven was donated to the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy in 2011 by the late Suzanne Upjohn Delano Parish. She purchased the property in 1985 to ensure that it would remain open space forever. This property formerly served the community as a camp for over 70 years, and it is well-known and beloved by many Michigan residents who visited the property as campers.

SWMLC’s continuing management of Pilgrim Haven Natural Area is supported by the Friends of Pilgrim Haven Natural Area Endowment Fund at the South Haven Community Foundation.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to share Pilgrim Haven, and now with the new public access improvements completed through the partnership with SHARA, the vision SWMLC established with broad community input is now fulfilled,” says SWMLC Executive Director Pete Ter Louw.

Source: Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy