Page 43 - Rockford Living Magazine 2017-18
P. 43

If you’re looking to commune with nature, you’ll  nd it at Pickerel Lake Park, also known as the Fred Meijer Nature Preserve. Just north of Cannonsburg on Ramsdell Drive, the park is a “real” land of enchantment with several hiking trails and interpretive paths, an accessible  shing dock, and an opportunity to experience nature in its pristine glory.
Make sure to hike the 1.9-mile Lake Trail around the lake, or spend the day exploring many of the other great trails. If you don’t see frogs, painted turtles, great blue herons, bunnies, beavers, and other assorted birds, waterfowl and wildlife along your hike – you need to look a little closer. They’re there. It’s also a great place to take your children  shing for pan sh on the easily assessible 800-foot boardwalk with  shing platforms.
This enchanted nature preserve is also steeped in local history. Longtime residents may remember the land for its eccentric owner, “Indian Joe,” who lived in an unpainted wooden shack. Joe Cizauskus,
Bostwick Lake
in its preserved state until his death in
who actually immigrated from Lithuania at the start of World War I, scrimped and saved and eventually purchased 232 acres surrounding Pickerel Lake. It was his most beloved possession.
Joe operated a small campground, sold
Christmas trees and vegetables, but kept
k e receiving many offers. The land remained
the land in its untouched, natural state.
Joe refused to sell to developers, despite
Pickerel Lake
Camp Roger Private Property
One Way
Pickerel Lake Trails
Lake Trail – 1.9 miles
Woodland Trail – 0.9 miles Woodland Branch Trail – 0.12 miles Highland Trail – 0.4 miles
Sandy Knoll Trail – 0.8 miles
Larch Swamp Trail – 0.3 miles BoardWalks
Entry / Exit Parking
Larch Swamp
Sandy Knoll
1988, when, with a grant from the Fred Meijer family, the site became the 304-acre park and nature preserve we have come to know and love.
After Joe’s death, rumors surfaced about a treasure of gold that he presumably buried on the property. Illegal treasure seekers dug pits and scoured the park for many years, but no treasure was ever found. You may still see remnants of these “treasure pits” as you hike the park today.
Pickerel Lake Park and
Fred Meijer Nature Preserve
n a
Kreuter Rd
Ramsdell Dr NE
Sunfish Lake Ave NE
Ramsdell Dr NE
Pickerel Dr NE

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