Accessibility Improvements across Huron-Clinton Metroparks Create New Opportunities for Local Community
Improvements empowered by grant partners include trail redevelopment and new hand-cycle
BRIGHTON, Mich. — The Huron-Clinton Metroparks Planning and Development Department is making parks more accessible, creating new recreation opportunities, and expanding trail connectivity to serve everyone in the local community. Multiple grants support these ongoing initiatives.
“A main focus for us is making sure the parks serve everyone,” said Amy McMillan, Director at the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority. “We want to create opportunities for all to take advantage of their local Metroparks and it’s great to have partners that share that commitment. These projects are just the latest in a long-term effort and more will be coming soon.”
Upcoming projects include a multi-use Shelden Trail Redevelopment at Stony Creek Metropark in Macomb and Oakland counties. Improvements will be made to existing trails to enhance user safety and hand-cycles/adaptive mountain bike usability, as well as sustainability and habitat protection. The redevelopment is made possible thanks to fundraising efforts by the Huron- Clinton Metroparks Foundation totaling $163,190, including $85,000 in grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Fund for Design and Access. Other donors include the REI co-op, Walmart Foundation, and Moosejaw, as well as funds raised from the Howlin’ at the Moon event. These contributions will be combined with Metropark funds to begin the first phase of construction this fall.
A new hand cycle is available for visitors to rent at Stony Creek Metropark thanks to an $1,800 grant received from the League of Michigan Bicyclists Micro-Grant program.
Additional improvements to trails will be supported by a pair of grants from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources through its Iron Belle Trail Challenge Grant program.
The first grant, totaling $38,725, was contributed to a project at Dexter-Huron Metropark in Washtenaw County, which will create a 10-foot wide accessible path from the existing paved parking lot to the Border-to-Border Trail (B2B) segment of the Iron Belle Trail, adding striping and signage along with accessible van spaces.
The second grant provides $43,350 towards an Iron Belle Trail Signage project across three Metroparks in Wayne County: Lower Huron, Willow, and Oakwoods. It will include three major trailhead signs, five minor trailheads, two bicycle/wheelchair repair stations, various trail crossing improvements and accessibility improvements throughout the three parks.
These new improvements follow a push to improve accessibility across the Metroparks, including the installation of wheelchair accessible fishing platforms at Maltby Lake at Huron Meadows Metropark and on Black Creek at Lake St. Clair Metropark. Golfers can even reserve an accessible golf cart for their next round at Stony Creek, Indian Springs, Willow or Lake St. Clair golf courses.
The Metroparks has recently begun providing accommodations for the sensory-friendly needs of its guests. One example is the Sensory-Friendly Farm Day at Kensington Metropark, where visitors were able to enjoy meeting farm animals through interactive sounds, sights and hands-on contact. Additionally, the outdoor movie series at Kensington, Willow, and Stony Creek Metroparks, scheduled for Saturdays in August, includes designated sensory-friendly tents to complement the screenings.
The Metroparks is committed to addressing existing accessibility issues throughout the entire park system. The Planning and Development Department is currently updating its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan. Once a detailed assessment of all operations and facilities is complete, a list of physical barriers that limit accessibility to programs, services, and activities will be developed. This list will be prioritized with consideration from public input and equitable investments for all parks and amenities.