Wah Sash Kah Moqua Nature Preserve
Location: Bay and Arenac Counties
Size: 123 acres
Wah Sash Kah Moqua Preserve was named in partnership with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. The name honors Mary Henderson Sagatoo, a woman from Massachusetts who spent 33 years living with the Chippewa Indians in the area. The name Wah Sash Kah Moqua means “there was darkness but your coming brings light.” Mary Sagatoo wrote a book in 1897 titled, “Wah Sash Kah Moqua or Thirty-Three Years Among the Indians.”
A former farming location, the 123 acres of Wah Sash Kah Moqua now provide a unique mix of grassland and emergent wooded habitat. Nesting Northern Harriers are common at Wah Sash, and the mature windbreak treeline is a combination of mighty oaks, cherries, and maples, providing cover and food for a unique mix of of songbirds. Many nesting Eastern Kingbirds along the south boundary of the main, central parcel often provide an entertaining show for visitors and flocks of Cedar Waxwings are omnipresent, along with the resident Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows (there are many habitat boxes along the trail network). Great Horned Owls nest on or around the property periodically, and Red-shouldered Hawks have been sighted here during migration. A fantastic road-end provides clear views to the Saginaw Bay shoreline for gulls, terns, and waders at the end of Bay-Arenac County Line Road.
The Preserve itself is a showplace of wetland restoration. Originally dedicated in 2011, Wah Sash Kah Moqua changes quickly and continuously, as it is a wooded wetland in its infancy. It is home to species that crave woodland habitat as well as those which live in open, prairie areas. In 2012, a new shelter was constructed at the main entrance, providing a shaded wildlife observation opportunity.
Recreational opportunities include hiking, wildlife observation, biking, skiing and snowshoeing.
How to get to Wah Sash Kah Moqua Nature Preserve:
Just head north on M-13 to Arenac Bay Line Road, a few miles north of Pinconning, then head east a few miles to the reserve. Parking is available on the south side of Bay-Arenac Line Road, east of Arenac State Road. Additional parking is available on the north side of Rashott Road, east of North Shore/Arenac State Road. Watch for the brown signs along Arenac State Road.