Rabbit River Preserve

In February of 2017, we finalized the acquisition of 65 acres of land along the Rabbit River in Hamilton we called the “Rabbit River Preserve.” This property allows us to expand our programming, increase the number of high quality acres we manage and protect, and expand our opportunities for connecting people with the outdoors. This property is used as an extension of the Outdoor Discovery Center nature preserve with more of a research and observational focus on riparian systems and forest ecology. Our staff continue to study the site and create a wildlife inventory which will guide the management of the property going forward. Unlike the nature preserve, the site will not be handicap accessible and require that visitors stay on the trails.

The former owners of the property, Al & Marcia Elgersma, of Hamilton, have been long time supporters of the Outdoor Discovery Center. “When we decided to preserve this beautiful natural area, we couldn’t think of a better organization to partner with. We are so proud of the work the Outdoor Discovery Center has already done for our community.” said Marcia Elgersma.

In October of 2017, more than 150 Herman Miller volunteers spent two days working to make the Al and Marcia Elgersma Rabbit River Preserve accessible and open to the public.  The effort was coordinated as part of the work of the Herman Miller Cares foundation.  Each year, Herman Miller selects a large-scale community project to invest in.  The group worked for more than 6 months designing a plan to create overlooks, pathways, parking areas, signage and native plantings.

In addition to the design, the foundation provided the resources to pay for materials and supplies to make the project possible.  The Rabbit River Preserve now has the infrastructure needed to accommodate visitors from the community.  The future plans for the preserve include working with local secondary and higher education institutions to provide an ecologically diverse community asset to support academic research as well as hands on training to meet the State of Michigan science curriculum standards.  Jamie Krupka, Program Director, shared: “Rabbit River is host to dozens of species as well as landforms that can’t be found on other ODC properties.  This new community learning area will benefit students throughout Ottawa and Allegan Counties.”

Herman Miller volunteer group who helped design and build a wildlife viewing platform at Rabbit River Preserve


  • No fee
  • Trailhead is located at the main parking area
  • Pets are only allowed on 6 foot leashes
  • Preserve only open during daylight hours
  • use the trails for walking, jogging, hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing
  • only use the parking lot area if you must smoke

Please Do Not

  • harass native wildlife especially for the sake of better viewing or photography
  • use motorized or pedaled vehicles on the trails
  • ride horses on the Rabbit River Preserve
  • swim in the Rabbit River
  • park overnight or after hours
  • collect animals, plants or other natural materials without specific consent
  • hunt or trap wildlife



Click for directions to Rabbit River Preserve:
4401 135th Avenue, Hamilton, MI 49419


In case of an emergency, dial 911 and tell the operator you are in Allegan County