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Narrow Gauge Way Nature Area

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​​​​​​Park Address: 3485 Greenleaf Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Acce​ss          Hi​story         

Hours and Rules

Open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Unless otherwise posted per City Council resolution, when a park is closed, no person shall remain in or enter it other than to quietly sit or walk.​ Refer to Chapter 39 of the City of Ann Arbor Code of Ordinances for park regulations and rules. Smoking is prohibited, bicycles are prohibited, and dogs must be on leash.  ​

Overview

Narrow Gauge Way is a 13.5 acre nature area located on the east side of Ann Arbor. View the Ann Arbor Parks and Nature Areas m​ap for location context. The diverse trees located throughout the area provide habitat for terrestrial wildlife including rabbits, deer, and squirrels. ​Just some of the many native plant species found here include oak, hickory, maple, sycamore, sassafras, basswood, and black walnut trees as well as ragwort, jack-in-the-pulpit, richweed, Christmas fern, and lopseed.​​ Water quality monitoring programs show the tributary located in Narrow Gauge Way, which flows into Miller Creek, is the healthiest stream in the whole of Ann Arbor, measured by the presence of ​stoneflies. 

Access and Parking

​There is limited street parking available on Narrow Gauge Way, on the north side of the nature area​​.

The nature area is accessible on foot at two unmarked entry points: one where Narrow Gauge Way and Watershed Court meet, and one in the middle of the nature area property that borders Green Road. For both access points, the incline down to the stream bed requires caution and steady footing. Once in the area, discernible footpaths can be found, especially along the streambed located in the northern end of the nature area. 

Public Transit:​ The ne​a​rest bus stop​ is at the corner of Glazier Way and ​Bardstown Trail, which is about 0.5 miles away and a 10-15 minute walk from the nature area. Visit The Ride​ for closest stops and route details or check out the parks ride guide​​. ​​​

​Using a phone? - Click for a GPS Tracker and Wayfinding Map



Volunteer

There are ongoing and limitless opportunities for volunteering and getting engaged with the Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Services Unit. Natural Area Preservation has volunteer opportunities that support their mission to protect and restore Ann Arbor's natural areas and to foster an environmental ethic within the community. If you are feeling the call to volunteer or give some time, reach out or explore the website above to see what’s upcoming or how to get involved.​​​​

​Report a Problem - A2 Fix It

To report any maintenance issues or other problem during your park visit, please report through A2Fix It.  When reporting an issue in a park please include location details. There is a details and description section near the end of the request process to help you provide this. In addition, users can utilize the pin (website) or X (mobile app) feature to provide specific location information inside the park. Finally, please consider including a wide angle photo or include background landmarks, which helps staff find and fix the problem.​

Gifts and Donations 

Information on donating to the parks and the Guide to Giving can be found he​re​. For special projects ideas in natural areas, Natural Area Preservation​ staff will guide you and provide project guidelines unique to natural areas.​​​

History

Ann Arbor's city parks sit on the ancestral and traditional homelands of several indigenous Native peoples. Read a land acknowledgement​ from the city and learn more about the early history of the land here.​​

The City of Ann Arbor purchased the land that comprises Narrow Gauge Way Nature Area in 2007 from Narrow Gauge Holdings, Inc. and Sondra Gunn Properties for $1.8 million dollars. The money used for the purchase came from the city's Greenbelt Program. The Greenbelt program is an innovative land preservation program that has protected thousands of acres of farmland and open space surrounding the city of Ann Arbor.

The name of the nature area comes from the "narrow gauge rail" constructed by the former property owner, the late Harold Allen. Dr. Harold Allen was an aeronautical and research engineer at the University of Michigan from 1939 to 1972. He loved trains and started construction on the railway that adjoined his house in 1962. Harold used the small locomotive to haul maple sap and firewood to his house from the surrounding woods. 

2010 Park Focus: Narrow Gauge Way by Drew YoungeDyke


Updated December 2022. Email [email protected] for incorrect/outdated information.​​