Fog hovers above the water at Ball Lake Nature Preserve

Posted by: Elijah Stewart

  • 12/21/2023

Retiring Trails: Ball Lake Nature Preserve

From a Chinese Proverb:
“A good neighbor is a found treasure.”

ACRES has numerous neighbors in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. ACRES neighboring parcels come in many shapes, sizes and conditions including farmland, industrial lands, resort areas, university lands and public parks. There are partnering properties, egress areas, private fishing and hunting lands, and single and multi-family residential areas. Each of these neighbors has individual interests and concerns for their adjoining lands and for ACRES adjoining lands and waters.

If ACRES neighbors do not already know (through intentional staff greetings and correspondence), they soon find out that the land trust takes great pride in its care of the land and water. ACRES pays allegiance to donors’ forever care requests. ACRES also partners with other caring agencies, groups and volunteers as it tends to the immediate needs of the land, waters, residents and migrators.

Ball Lake Preserve is one such property. A neighboring owners’ association learned about ACRES strong land ethic. Upon learning of ACRES forever care intention at Robb Hidden Canyon Preserve on the other side of the lake, the Ball Lake Association decided to gift to ACRES its 26 acres of land as a wildlife refuge.

Cleaning up the past

Prior to the 1995 acquisition, although the owners’ association had been aware of a contaminated dump site on its Ball Lake property, remediation was too costly for members to finance. So upon accepting this gifted property, ACRES agreed to clean up the dump site, remediate and care for the land. Several ACRES donors aided in collecting the thousands of dollars needed. ACRES also entered into a partnership with an adjacent farmland on the north end of the property, a partnership that continues today as that tip of the parcel remains agriculturally productive.

Retiring the trail

Currently, Ball Lake Preserve (named for Gideon Ball, an early landowner) includes a small forest and short public trail. The land serves as a buffer helping keep the water quality high for Ball Lake residents. It supports Fish Creek and wildlife needs. Each spring, its beautiful ravine yields numerous wildflowers such as blue flag iris and marsh marigolds.

ACRES is a good neighbor.

As part of ACRES comprehensive plan to update visitor amenities at our nature preserves, the Ball Lake trail system will close to the public December 31, 2023.
Learn more at acreslandtrust.org/raisingourstandards.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2023 ACRES Quarterly, mailed to members each season. The 20-page Quarterly features ACRES news, stories and events. You can subscribe by becoming an ACRES member with a donation of $20 or more. Click here to learn more!