PARKS & RECREATION
Kesling Nature Preserve
Kesling Nature Preserve was established in 2004 by the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. The 55-acre preservation area includes a half-mile trail loop, a one-mile trail loop, and incredible scenic views overlooking forested tributaries. The land boasts significant wildlife habitat and is known as a popular destination for bird-watching. In fact, the State Threatened Yellow-throated Warbler is known to nest within Kesling Nature Preserve. Additionally, the South Branch of the Galien River meanders through the property, and offers tremendous fishing opportunities to visitors. This facility is not owned or maintained by the Township, but it is available for public use.
Three Oaks Township Conservation Area
The northern segment of the Three Oaks Township Conservation Area is adjacent to, and east of, the Kesling Nature Preserve. The 15-acre property is owned and maintained by Three Oaks Township. One-third of the land is defined as a natural prairie; and must be mowed once every three years to maintain the quality and integrity of the grasslands. The Township Conservation Area combines with the Kesling Nature Preserve to provide about 70 acres of contiguous preserved lands that can be used for nature interpretation, walking, hiking, mountain biking, fishing and wildlife viewing.
Additionally, the Township has recently acquired approximately 80 acres of beautiful wooded property along the South Branch of the Galien River. The property has access from Forest Lawn Road and is almost directly across from the Three Oaks Township Conservation Area and Kesling Nature Preserve; creating a cluster of natural resource preserves in the southwest quadrant of the community. Although this property is not directly connected to the 15-acre area described above, the Township considers this land the southern segment of the Three Oaks Township Conservation Area; and combined with the northern segment, the preserved lands total a cumulative 95 acres. Combined with the Kesling Nature Preserve, the southwest quadrant of the Township offers 150 acres of natural area for residents and visitors of Three Oaks Township.
Spring Creek School
The Spring Creek School sits on a triangular-shaped property almost one acre in land area, at the corner of Three Oaks Road and Donner Road. The single-room schoolhouse was built in 1886 and is owned and maintained by Three Oaks Township. For years, the building lacked modern heat and ventilation systems, electricity, and plumbing facilities.
The 2005 Parks and Recreation Plan identified the property as a potential community resource that can be incorporated into the public parks system in the Township. That plan called for rehabilitation of the building into a community center or museum with a portion of the grounds being used as a trailhead staging area related to the Backroads Bikeway trail system. The Backroads Bikeway trail system is an informal network of 12 distinct loops – or routes – via secondary roads throughout the region, ranging from 5 miles to 60 miles in length, and organized by the Three Oaks Spokes Bicycle Club.