About Leonard Preserve
Owned by Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission (WCPARC) since 2004, Leonard Preserve protects 259 acres of habitat along nearly 2 miles of shoreline of the River Raisin. Leonard Preserve’s boundaries lie within both the Village of Manchester and Manchester Township. The close proximity to this community has resulted in Leonard Preserve becoming a popular hiking destination for many local residents. Historically, the land has been used for agriculture, since ownership, WCPARCs has invested in trail and habitat improvements. Many former agricultural fields are now planted and maintained as native prairies and other habitats have been improved through efforts to removing invasive species.
Early in ownership, staff and partners began voicing concerns that the growing deer population was causing damage to native plant communities. Since 2009, WCPARC has researched deer impacts on natural resources at Leonard Preserve. All data indicate the deer are causing significant damage to the native plant community.
In response to this data, WCPARC will be partnering with Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors (MiOFO) to open Leonard Preserve for selective hunting in fall 2016. MiOFO is focused on providing outdoor recreation opportunities for wounded veterans and individuals with health challenges. Hunting will be limited to deer only, and will occur on specific dates and locations within Leonard Preserve, as described in below. MiOFO will be registering hunters for the events.