The “year-round” portion of the trail (turquoise line) opens this fall.

September 21, 2020 — The timing couldn’t be more perfect: This Saturday, September 26—which is National Public Lands Day—Zylstra Lake Preserve officially opens for day-use public access. The newly opened portion of the preserve features a trail that goes about half-way around the upper (main) lake. The rest of the circumference trail will open in April, after the migratory waterfowl season has ended.

Representatives from the Preservation Trust and the Land Bank will be on hand from 8am until 4pm for opening weekend (Saturday, September 26, and Sunday, September 27) to answer questions. Visitors are free to walk the trail on their own during these hours.

Here’s a description of the trail from the Land Bank’s Interim Management Plan (click here to download the PDF document): “The initial phase of public access entails developing a parking area and trailhead at the Preserve’s entrance off of San Juan Valley Road. …

“A signed trailhead will be located at the west end of the parking lot. The pedestrian path will begin here. The trail will follow a rudimentary farm road along the northern and western boundary of the Preserve for under a mile and then veer off of the road and onto a mowed path. This grassy footpath will lead visitors up onto a ridge near the southwest corner of the upper lake and provide scenic overlooks. In the short-term, the trail will loop around the ridge and recreationalists will return to the parking area by the same route. This out-and-back trail will extend for two miles and be the initial recreational opportunity provided.”

A note from the Land Bank on dogs: “Dogs with humans on leash permitted until Oct. 31. Beginning Nov. 1, no dogs will be permitted to help reduce disturbance to migratory waterfowl.”

We’re excited to present this guided preview of the trail: