Furstenberg Nature Area is a 38-acre park containing wetlands, woodlands, prairie, and oak savannah. It is located on Fuller Road just West of Gallup Park. The park can be accessed from Gallup Park via pedestrian bridge or from Fuller Road across from Huron High School. A half-mile paved trail loops through the park, and a granular trail goes through the prairie and woods, connecting to 1/4 mile of wetland boardwalk. Three bat houses provide habitat for bats. Facilities include a paved parking lot, a restroom building, picnic tables, two wetland overlooks, benches, and interpretive signage. An interpretive brochure leads the visitor through a series of numbered posts explaining the natural ecosystems. Bike riding on the boardwalk is prohibited.
- Age: land first acquired by the City in 1971
- Size: 38 acres
- Ecosystem types: mesic forest, prairie, mitigated wetland
The land that is now Furstenberg Park was owned by Huron Farms Company (later succeeded by Detroit Edison) until 1939. It was then purchased by Albert and Elizabeth Furstenberg. In 1971 the area was acquired for $90,000 by the City of Ann Arbor to “preserve and protect the Huron River Valley”. The purchase was financed with a H.U.D. Open Space Grant for use as “park purposes.”
The land was largely undeveloped as a park through the 1980s. In 1986 it was even used by the City for clean fill dumping. In 1992, several improvements including trails, benches, and a marker were added with the support of private donations toward the Dr. Edward O. Gilbert memorial fund. In 1993, a major grant was acquired from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to preserve the river frontage. These improvements were implemented in two phases and included a boardwalk, restrooms, parking, and a bridge connecting Furstenberg to adjacent Gallup Park. The bridge officially opened in 1996. The landscape architect who designed these improvements, Peter Pollack of Pollack Designs in Ann Arbor, was given an award from the American Society of Landscape Architects for his design.
Furstenberg Nature Area is connected to Gallup Park on the east.