Dolph Nature Area is a 75.2 acre park on the city's west side. View the
Ann Arbor Parks & Nature Areas Map for location context. One of Ann Arbors most beautiful parks, it includes open water, wetland and marsh habitat, as well as forest and shrubland. Dolph has a trail connection on the east to
Lakewood Nature Area. The park is home to First and Second Sister Lakes, the only naturally formed kettle lakes in Ann Arbor. The floating vegetation mat on First Sister Lake comprises the only bog in Ann Arbor's parks system.
First and Second Sister Lakes were formed approximately 10,000 years ago during the northward retreat of the Wisconsin Glacier. Huge chunks of ice broke off from the main glacier and were buried in glacial outwash or till. As the ice melted the earth above it settled forming what are known as kettle lakes.
As vegetation colonizes open water, kettle lakes can turn into bogs over time. First Sister Lake is in the early stages of this process. Bog plants found here include leatherleaf, bog birch, tamarack and poison sumac. Other interesting wetland plants include buttonbush and turtlehead. Yellow pond lily, sweet-scented water lily and duckweed can be found in open water.
Over 140 bird species have been recorded in Dolph. Migrants include the American Bittern, Least Flycatcher, Northern Waterthrush, Mourning Warbler, Wood Duck, Green Heron, Warbling Vireo and Wood thrush. Year-round residents include Downy, Hairy and Red Bellied Woodpeckers. Four species of turtles can be observed in the park including, Northern Map Turtle, Painted Turtle and Snapping Turtle. The Spring Peeper frog is quite common in Dolph as well as other frog species.