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A Quiet Corridor Featuring Jackson County, Michigan's Natural Attributes


Friends of the Falling Waters Trail
c/o Jackson County Parks
1992 Warren Ave
Jackson MI 49203

      Email: fallingwatersmi@gmail.com

2016 Spring Newsletter
 

             Dive Site Along the Trail


Looking North at Lime Lake



Wetlands Near Concord

 


Crossroad Going East to Mathews



Michigan White Trillium Along the Trail


Swan Near Concord

Email: fallingwatersmi@gmail.com

 

Much of the following information is found in the Spring Arbor Township Historical Committee publication of 1980, edited by William J. Termon of Spring Arbor College Department of History.  We’d like you to know why this particular railroad bed was so important to preserve and so fascinating to walk 
                          or bicycle.

 

Falling Waters Trail Has a Native American History

The earliest recorded inhabitants of our trail are the Potowatomi natives. They had major encampments near our Trail, as well as burial sites and council grounds, and the Falling Waters Trail County Park is a short ride from the Trail south on Cross Rd.

The name, Falling Waters Trail, and the Friends of the Falling Waters Trail logo, honors the Potowotomi village of the “Kitch-ti-ki-pi” or Big Springs.  Jackson County is headwaters for four Michigan rivers and the Land of Falling Waters was the Native American name for this area

 

Our Trail’s Railroad History

The
Michigan Air Line railroad was completed in 1871, although Snyder Station at Moscow Rd. existed in 1867 and became a busy rural shipping point with 4 passenger trains and up to 40 freight trains every 24 hours. There was also a depot at Lime Lake with a ticket agent in 1903 and one in Concord. The railroad continued in 1884 across Michigan from Niles east through Jackson on to Romeo and on into southern Canada.

In the 1970s Conrail abandoned the line and tore up the tracks

In the 1990s Conrail sold to Norfolk Southern, delaying the State of Michigan purchase and our Trail development by 14 years.  Our small board of the Friends of the Falling Waters Trail has been keeping the hope alive since our first meeting in 1993 until dedication as the  newest Jackson County Park in 57 years, and presentation to you of the no-fee Falling Waters Trail County Park

Our Trail’s Economic and Sociological History

Douglass Houghton, Michigan Territory geologist of the early 1800s, described the area of our Trail from Jackson to Spring Arbor as “rolling filled with marshes, lakes and cat-holes”; and “filled with numerous springs of peculiar character that seem to contain minerals and extensive beds of marl” near our Lime Lake’s well known Peppermint Springs; and “beautiful oak openings with primary boulders” proceeding further on to the lovely site of Concord

Lime Lake was originally only a 4-acre pond called Bateman Lake on Carter Road from which Methodist Episcopal Church seminary students cut ice

The Portland Cement Company dug marl with two huge steam dredges from 1900 to 1929 into its current size, split by the railroad tracks.  The remnants of docks and equipment are visible to trail visitors in the bottom of crystal clear south Lime Lake

The first dam built in Concord, then called Van Fossenville, was constructed in 1833 near the Falling Waters Trail on the north branch of the Kalamazoo River.

 The saw mill equipment was installed in 1835, west of the railroad bridge on Concord’s main street.  Waterpower from the Kalamazoo River was important to the development of the village and area

 Our Trail’s Ecological and Environmental History

In 1833 David Trumbull wrote his father in Connecticut about bears, wolves, prairie hens, and plentiful turkeys and deer in the area.  The Trail area is still filled with wildlife, though the bears and prairie chicken booming ground have been replaced with coyotes

The Lime Lake Fen was studied in 1984 by Cranbrook Institute of Science and Spring Arbor College Biology Department.  Prairie Dropseed, on the Michigan list of endangered plants, is found along the southeast shore of Lime Lake, as is Giant Sunflower, Big Bluestem, Giant Lobelia, and the delicate blue Fringed Gentian

The fen reconnaissance committee reported that “although the area was greatly disturbed in the past, it has now developed into an excellent fen community”.  They recommended that it be dedicated as a “Managed Tract” to preserve the fen vegetation by periodic burning as the Potowotomi did.  The hope exists than someone will take up the project

Lime Lake is the headwaters of Sandstone Creek that wanders along the Trail.  South Lime Lake remains pristine waters and is the only lake of its size in the county that is totally unblemished by cottages and uninhabited except by herons and turtles, flora and fauna, fish and wildlife south Lime Lake 

We hope our words have painted a picture of the Falling Waters Trail. The development of the Falling Waters Trail will preserve a scenic and historic corridor for generations to come, and that, from the start, has been our mission