Municipalities, counties offer a variety of outdoor activities
by Vanessa Denha Garmo
Spring is here and summer is on its way. Wherever you may reside, counties and communities have activities that get the family moving and having fun. Below are a few things going on in Michigan. You can always find out about more activities by a simple internet search of your hometown and surrounding areas.
Discover more about local trails and parks during the TrailBlazer Walking Series
Lace up your walking shoes and get ready to explore the nearly 80 miles of trails within Oakland County Parks and Recreation. The TrailBlazer Walking Series includes guided nature hikes throughout the parks system. This is the second year for this popular program, which has been expanded to include extreme hikes, morning walks and more park treks.
“The walking series is a great way to stay fit while enjoying the outdoors,” Recreation Program Supervisor Sandy Dorey said. “It’s a way to meet other people and learn more about your parks system, too.”
Beginning April 26, the TrailBlazer Walking Series will feature informational hikes led by Oakland County Parks and Recreation staff who will point out ecological features and share fun park facts.
Walks are generally held on Tuesdays beginning at 7 p.m., but other days and times are included on this year’s walk schedule: For information on other events, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
No registration is required. It is recommended that participants bring bug spray and a refillable water bottle. For extreme hikes, participants should wear sturdy hiking shoes and may want to consider gardening gloves as they will be scrambling up hills and may need to pick burrs from their clothing. Free pedometers are available while supplies last.
Programs are free. An annual vehicle permit or daily park pass is required at Addison Oaks, Groveland Oaks, Highland Oaks, Independence Oaks, Lyon Oaks, Orion Oaks, Red Oaks and Rose Oaks county parks. For details, contact Sandy Dorey at 248-424-7081.
In addition to the programs above, they have a full summer schedule including nature centers programs, adaptive events and additional programs at the Oakland County Farmers Market. Oakland County Parks is also hosting special events at the waterpark Waterford Oaks on Scott Lake Road. There is also Oakland County Fair in Davidsburg held in July.
Music, movies and more in Macomb County
Many parks around Metropolitan Detroit offer music in the parks including those in Macomb County. They are offering a series of free concerts in the park. Each ninety-minute set will be held rain or shine, so gather your family and friends and come prepared to enjoy this fantastic concert series lineup.
In addition to the concert, the kidzone play-area will be in full swing with inflatables, organized games, toys and other equipment. The Concerts will take place on the main lawn at Macomb Corners Park so for your comfort please remember to bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. Concessions will be available on site to purchase. Coolers and picnic baskets are allowed if you choose to bring your own.
On Friday, August 9, the Macomb Township Parks and Recreation Department will host its annual Movie Under the Stars event at Macomb Corners Park. This free community event is a great way for families to enjoy a summer night outside watching a newly released family favorite movie (TBA) on the big screen. Free glow bracelets along with a family friendly bug spray station will be provided at dusk. In addition to the movie, the kidzone play-area will be available for play. The movie will be shown on the main lawn at Macomb Corners Park so for your comfort please remember to bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. Concessions will be available on site to purchase. Coolers and picnic baskets are allowed.
For more information about Macomb county events go to https://www.macomb-mi.gov/204/Parks-and-Recreation
Seasonal activities at the Zoo
The Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak offers a variety of events throughout the year including this spring and summer. Some activities include some exercise. They are hosting a Bike Safari for the family. Families can enjoy this exclusive opportunity to ride your bicycle through the Detroit Zoo while taking an after-hours look at your favorite animals.
Each Bike Safari ticket includes a commemorative T-shirt and admission to the Zoo where guests will take part in a 2-mile ride on a preplanned course. This course wraps around the Zoo, passing a majority of animal habitats and includes locations to stop and enter the indoor viewing areas. Riders will conquer a variety of surfaces and experience a combination of uphill and downhill portions, as well as tight turns and flat stretches. Filtered-water stations will be located throughout the trail for hydration.
There is also a Bike Safari Tour for people 21 and older. They can enjoy this evening of bicycles, beasts and beers as they ride through the Detroit Zoo while taking an after-hours look at your favorite animals. You can find out more about what is happening at the Detroit Zoo by going to https://detroitzoo.org/events/zoo-events/.
Michiganders will be able to trek a 47-mile Dragon trail
It’s expected to become a national attraction - a new trail in western Michigan breaking ground this year.
Construction on Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam trail in Newaygo and Mecosta counties could begin by this summer, the Muskegon Chronicle reported.
From an aerial view, the 47-mile hiking and biking trail encircles a dam-formed pond that resembles the shape of a dragon. The pond is part of the Muskegon River that pooled above the Hardy Dam, which is owned by Jackson-based utility Consumers Energy.
Visitors will be able to use the trail to walk or bike along the top of the dam, as reported on WDIV Channel 4.
“There are other trails that are this long, but very few are circular, fewer go around a body of water and none of them that we could find go around a body of water that’s undeveloped,” said Ryan Coffey Hoag, a land use educator at Michigan State University Extension who’s involved in the project.
The 2-foot-wide trail is planned to pass through untamed terrain, six campgrounds and eight boat launches and marinas. The route will also include 13 scenic overlooks and 20 footbridges.
“It became really obvious really quickly that this wasn’t a local trail; this was going to be an attraction that would bring people into the region,” Hoag said. “This is about economic development.”
The trail is scheduled for completion in 2022.