Miller Woods

Miller Woods is an example of a “late successional” forest, one that includes certain species of trees that are tolerant of shady conditions, such that they succeed to a position of dominance in the forest. Based on the physical site conditions (climate, soil, and drainage), specific combinations of trees will prevail until a disturbance occurs, such as might occur by wind, fire, insects or humans. Miller Woods is a beech-sugar maple forest, and this type of forest ecosystem is now rare in southeast Michigan.
 
Other species of trees typically found in a beech-sugar maple forest include black maple, basswood, northern red oak, white ash, bitternut hickory, shagbark hickory, hop-hornbeam, black cherry, slippery elm, and American elm. These species have "name tags" on the trail to help in identifying them.
 
In the spring, Miller Woods comes alive with beautiful native wildflowers that you will not see in many areas of Michigan. Harbinger of spring, hepatica, bloodroot, spring beauty, may apple and trillium are just some of the plant species you will find. Spicebush is a native shrub growing here. Many birds, hawks and animals make their home here, but you will need to be quiet to see them!
 
The last receding glacial ice mass also is seen in Miller Woods, with small and moderate-sized rocks scattered throughout the woods. Fossils evidence can be seen on the surface of many of the rocks, and a huge boulder rests across the street from the entrance to Miller Woods.
 
DIRECTIONS:  Miller Woods is located in the western portion of Plymouth Township, at the crossroads of Ridge and Powell Roads.  The entrance is on Powell Road, just east of Ridge Road. 
If coming from the west (Ann Arbor, Superior Township, etc.): take Plymouth/Ann Arbor Road, heading east, to Ridge, then turn north (left) onto Ridge.  Powell Road is less than a mile; turn right.
 
If coming from the east (Livonia, Canton, Northville): take Ann Arbor Road heading west, to Ridge Road.  Turn north (right) onto Ridge, and Powell is less than a mile. Turn right.
There is no parking lot for Miller Woods.  You must park on the side of the road but there is plenty of space to do so.
 
 

The History of Miller Woods

Miller Woods is representative of the way Michigan looked in the early 1800’s when it was covered with similar stands of hardwood forests. In 1826, the United States government awarded title of eighty acres of land (including Miller Woods) to Peter Teeple. The property changed hands several times, and the forests were cut down and turned into farms as the soil was deep and rich. The ten acres now known as Miller Woods is believed to have been preserved, probably for its ability to produce maple syrup in the spring.
 
Norman and Cornelia Miller purchased the farmland in 1902, which now encompassed over 1,100 acres. The land was farmed until his death in 1958. In 1968, family members sold forty acres of the farm to the Plymouth-Canton Community School District. It was requested by the Miller family that this plot be preserved, and it was designated a nature preserve in 1991.