Maxton Plains Alvar

Drummond Island - The "Gem of Lake Huron" -

A rare natural feature occurs on Drummond Island, known locally as the Maxton Plains. This flatland area is a unique grassland, called an alvar. Alvars are extremely rare plant communities existing on limestone bedrock. Alvars are only found in parts of Canada, the United States and Sweden.

These plains are grasslands growing on very thin soil consisting of bulrush sedge and ragwort, prairie dropseed, prairie smoke, and Indian paintbrush. There are even fields of Prairie Smoke sprouting up through the cracks in the rocks. Another unusual feature of alvars is that trees tend to grow in straight lines following the soil filled cracks in the bed rock.

maxton plains alvar drummond island

The Maxton Plains on Drummond Island are some of the largest remaining in North America at about 2 miles by 4 miles. Interpretive signs at the crossroads explain the formation and appearance of the alvar.

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The Maxton Plains Alvar is a unique Michigan Back Roads day trip.