The Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, Metroparks, is a regional special park district encompassing Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Livingston counties.
It was sanctioned by the Michigan State Legislature in Act No.147 of the Public Acts of 1939, and was approved in 1940 by the residents of the five counties. The Board of Commissioners held its first meeting in 1941 and funding for the Metroparks became available in 1942.
The governing body of the HCMA is a seven-member Board of Commissioners. Two of the members are selected by the governor to represent the district at large, and the other five are selected by the Board of Commissioners from each of the five member counties.
The Metroparks' 2013 budgeted expenditures are $50.3 million. They are staffed by 184 full-time and up to 800 part-time personnel. The Metroparks are funded principally by a property tax levy, limited to one-quarter of one mill (the rate for 2013 is .2146 mills), and by revenues from vehicle entry fees and other user fees for various facilities such as golf courses. A vehicle entry permit is required to enter any Metropark and is only $25 annually for regular admission, $15 annually for seniors or $5 daily.
Currently, 13 Metroparks covering almost 25,000 acres, serve about 9 million visitors annually. The Metroparks are located along the Huron and Clinton rivers, providing a greenbelt around the Detroit metropolitan area. The parks are generally more than 1,000 acres each, with Stony Creek and Kensington being more than 4,400 acres.
The Metroparks provide a natural oasis from urban and suburban life and they provide an ever-growing variety of outdoor recreational and educational activities the year round in safe, clean environments. Picnicking, fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, nature study, biking, golf, disc golf, winter sports and a host of special outdoor programs and events are available within a short drive to southeast Michigan residents.
The Metroparks are recognized particularly for its extensive paved hike/bike trails and for its golf courses. More than 55 miles of paved hike/bike trails course through the Metroparks and some of these trails connect with many more miles of trails outside the Metroparks, and the system operates 8 regulation golf course and 2 par-3 courses.
The HCMA has made a strong commitment to environmental education and preservation. It operates nine full-service interpretive centers -- nature, farm and historical -- that provide a variety of programs both on site and off site, for almost 1.75 million people annually. A tenth interpretive center, the "Mobile Learning Center," is a 48-foot trailer filled with exhibits and hands-on activities that visits schools, community centers, fairs and other locations in southeast Michigan to conduct nature, farm and history programs to groups that may not have the means or opportunities to visit a Metropark.