Trail improvements at Spicer Lake provide access to nature observation


A new elevated walkway was installed on the trails at Spicer Lake Nature Preserve. The walkway, which utilizes recycled lumber, helps provide safe access to a floating observation platform on the small lake.

The walkway was made possible by a grant from I/N Tek I/N Kote covering the cost of the materials.

The County Parks construction team designed, assembled and installed the dock and completed it this spring. The platform is a quiet area to watch for Great Blue Herons and Kingfishers and to observe the plant life around the edge of the small lake.

“Because Spicer Lake is a nature preserve, there is no fishing, but the platform is a lovely spot from which to birdwatch or just relax on the bench,” says Evie Kirkwood, St. Joseph County Parks director.

In spring, the trail to the lake is often flooded with six-inches of water, previously making access to the platform difficult.

“Ironically, the grant timing required construction to occur during peak high water conditions, and now the water has receded, as it typically does in a dry summer,” says Kirkwood.

IN Tek/IN Kote also helped fund removal of invasive species within the constructed prairie at Spicer Lake Nature Preserve.

Volunteers from the University of Notre Dame Alumni family Camp helped remove non-native, invasive buckthorn and added stone in low spots on the trails.

The Nature Preserve is part of a kettle-hole lake ecosystem that was formed when glaciers retreated leaving massive blocks of ice behind. As the blocks melted, they formed large wetland depressions, that frequently are home to rare and endangered plants and animals.

Two small lakes are located within the 320 acres: Spicer Lake and Lancaster Lake.

Spicer Lake Nature Preserve is located on County Line Road, north of New Carlisle and has roughly 7 miles of hiking trails. For hours and maps visit www.sjcparks.org.

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