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Cedar Bend Nature Area

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Cedar Bend Nature Area is a 19-acre park on the steep bank of the river where the waterway makes a sharp bend back to the south. Parking is available in the main lot accessible from Island Dr, and there is pull-off parking on Cedar Bend Dr. Facilities are available at nearby Island Park and there are picnic spots along the river near the main parking area. Trails are unpaved, leading up (or down) the steep slope, and also travel a ridge of the slope. Another trail option is a rough unpaved one-way road which winds through the park from Cedar Bend Dr to Island Dr.

The open woods of this park contain oaks and hickories. The main trail along the ridge crosses a ravine that supports a rich array of plants including skunk cabbage, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and alternate leaf dogwood. The trails offer a birds-eye view of the river and other areas of the city. There is a perennial garden maintained by a park neighbor at the top of the park, off Cedar Bend Drive. A mowed field is also in this section of the park.

  • Age: The oldest park in Ann Arbor, bought in the early 1900s
  • Size: 19.5 acres
  • Ecosystem type: dry oak/hickory forest

History:
Cedar Bend Nature Area is the high, forested slope seen across the Huron River from Fuller Park.  It is bounded by the bend in the Huron River for which it is named, residential areas, and the University of Michigan’s North Campus.  Because of the steepness of the site, trails in the park are minimal, although there are several unimproved paths along the slope and several trails along the river bank used for fishing. The trails are very eroded and slippery through the center of the park from Cedar Bend Drive (off of Broadway) to Island Drive. The site once offered spectacular views of the Huron River valley, but many of those views are now reduced due to vegetation growth.

The entire wooded portion of the park is dry forest, although not as open as it once was, as indicated by several large, spreading trees now being crowded by younger competitors. Unfortunately, like many of our natural areas, Cedar Bend’s native flora also faces competition from invasive, non-native plants such as honeysuckle (Lonicera), common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), and garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata).  In all, 194 species of plants (143 native) have been  recorded in Cedar Bend.