Ott Biological Preserve
Location: South Parking - 1129 Olive St., Battle Creek
North Parking - 410 Jameson St., Battle Creek
Size: 298 acres
The Ott Biological Preserve is located just east of Battle Creek in Emmett Township. This greenspace includes 298 acres of natural habitat that is open to the public for hiking, exploring fauna, and observing wildlife.
Within its boundaries are two spring fed kettle lakes, large wetlands, and ridged uplands. Well-developed hardwood forests of the uplands include black, red and white oaks; pignut and shagbark hickories; and flowering dogwood. Common tree species of the lowland hardwood forests are yellow birch, red maple, black ash, and spicebush. From the tree line to the water’s edge is an interesting habitat called prairie fen. These fens support carnivorous plants including the purple pitcher plant, bladderworts, and several orchid species.
The park is home to over five miles of trail including portions of the North Country Trail, Calhoun County Trail, Iron Belle Trail, and Great Lake to Lake Trail. The Calhoun County Trail traverses the outer edge of the preserve and is a great route for bikers and families. Other trails meander through the middle of the Ott and navigate the park’s wetlands and eskers and only allow foot traffic.
The park can be accessed via the northern and southern parking lots. Each lot contains a sign, kiosk, and bike rack.
The park consists of trails that are rustic, have varying slopes, traverse wetlands, and erode rapidly. Though the trails are maintained regularly, many do not meet accessibly standards. Though some of the natural slopes will pose a challenge, the Calhoun County Trail does meet ADA and ASHTO standards as much as is able. The surface is generally firm and stable with a few exceptions. The parking lot at the Arlington Road entrance has 37 parking spaces of which two are handicap identified. The Jameson Road entrance has 30 parking spaces of which one is handicap identified. Both parking lots are accessible to a portion of the Calhoun County Trail that runs through the Preserve.