As indicated by topographic mapping data, the Michael Cameron Dempsey Nature Preserve is gently sloping and includes a ridge line which extends in an almost parallel direction to the northeast boundary line. This area includes an elevation change of 40 feet from this point to the lowest point in the southwest corner. The topographic features of this Preserve (and neighboring Menonaqua Woods Preserve) are a reflection of the geologic history of the Great Lakes, especially Lake Michigan. Over half of the soils are poorly drained, contributing to the wetland community types found on the property. The preserve is almost entirely wooded, with a combination of mixed northern hardwoods such as beech, sugar maple, and ironwood, as well as lowland conifers which are more concentrated in the poorly drained soil types. Large hemlock, balsam fir, and northern white cedar trees flank a creek that meanders throughout the property. The forest floor is a mixture of a variety of mosses, lichens, and ferns. White trillium flowers blanket this area in the spring. Other flowering plants, such as trout-lilies, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and wild lily of the valley have also been spotted here.
In addition to the creek, this preserve is likely a site for vernal pools. Vernal pools are a type of seasonal or temporary wetland. Although they were common at one time, many of these seasonal pools have been filled due to development. The defining characteristics of these temporary ponds are that they periodically dry up and do not contain fish. In general, they dry most often in late summer or early fall. It is the temporary aspect of these wetlands that make them so important; the wet-dry cycle prevents fish from becoming established, allowing for critical habitat for amphibians, crustaceans, and insects to thrive. Vernal pools are necessary for these species to function and fulfill their role in the ecosystem. Little Traverse Conservancy has been working with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory to identify which of its preserves have vernal pools, and the characteristics of this preserve are certainly promising. This Preserve is also home to a variety of fauna, such as white tailed deer, wild turkeys, ruffed grouse, red fox, porcupine, among many bird species. Over time, Little Traverse Conservancy will continue to document the natural features of this newly acquired nature preserve.