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THEY’RE YOUR METROPARKS.
AND HERE’S WHAT WE’RE UP TO.

The Metroparks never stop getting better. And here’s where you can learn about what we’re doing right now to make the Huron-Clinton Metroparks a better, more accessible parks system for all the communities we serve.

PROJECTS

The Metroparks never stop getting better! That’s because our staff are always working on improving facilities, removing barriers and making your park experience the best it can be. Maybe you’ve seen equipment or cones and construction fencing in the parks, and wondered what was going on. If so, you can learn more about park projects and see progress updates below.

Accessible Kayak Launches

Kensington Metropark

The project will improve accessibility at the West Boat Launch including installation of a new floating canoe/kayak launch, shoreline launch area, barrier-free parking, picnicking and other park amenities including walkways, signage, native landscaping and a pet waste station. The project will also include a new vault restroom facility for the launch area. The launch is located on Kent Lake, a reservoir of the Huron River, which is part of the National Huron River Water Trail.

Schedule: Construction is occurring during the summer of 2022 and will be completed before the end of the year.

This project was funded by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and the Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

Lake Erie Metropark

This project will develop an accessible kayak launch near the park’s existing boat ramps. Improvements include the accessible ramp, shoreline landing, van accessible trailer parking, and accessible picnic tables, grills and restroom modifications. Other amenities include signs, walkways, and a pet waste station. The launch area will be enhanced by native landscaping, shoreline cleanup and invasive plant removal. This launch will be part of the Detroit Heritage River Water Trail, and be connected and accessible via the National Huron River Water Trail and the Downriver Linked Greenways.

Schedule: This project will start in 2023 and be completed by summer of 2024.

This project has been funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

Lake St. Clair Metropark

Enhancing public access is the focus, by building an accessible launch at Lake St. Clair Metropark which will provide universal access for paddling opportunities. Paddlers will be able to use the launch free of charge and access Lake St. Clair or the Clinton River, via the Black Creek Marsh. Paddlers will be able to rent kayaks if needed or participate in many interpretive and stewardship programs provided by the Metroparks and our partners. The launch, which will improve water-based recreation, will be in an area of our maintenance yard that is underutilized. The scope of the accessible launch includes an 18’ x 50’ dock with 30’ gangways, additional ADA parking with trailer spaces, a sand launch, ADA port-a-johns, and tree plantings. The destinations that paddlers will have access to include the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair Water Trails, offering a variety of experiences for all skill levels.

Schedule: This project will be under construction later this summer and will be completed by the end of the year.

This project is in partnership with Macomb County and the Clinton River Watershed Council. Financial assistance for this project was provided, in part, by the Coastal Management Program, Water Resources Division, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, under the National Coastal Zone Management Program, through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce – and also the Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

Historic Mill Structural Improvements

Wolcott Mill Metropark Historic Center 

In 2019, the Historic Center at Wolcott Mill Metropark was closed as a precaution after staff observed hollow sounding areas beneath the basement floor of the mill. An Engineering firm was hired to investigate by using ground penetrating radar, coring through the existing concrete, and taking measurements to the material below. Soil borings and excavations were also completed on the outside of the building to assess the ground conditions and the existing foundation.

Contractual bidding is taking place to complete floor grouting work. This work will address voids underneath the basement floor that were found during the inspection.

Hudson Mills Rapids View Picnic Area & Launch Site Renovation

The project at Hudson Mills Metropark involves the renovation of the Rapids View picnic area and launch site for improved accessibility using universal design principals, to comprise: 1) new upper parking lot and designated trailer parking spaces; 2) new turnaround drop-off for paddlers and redeveloped lower parking lot; 3) launch renovations; 4) picnic area and river overlook renovations; 5) new vault latrine restrooms and 6) landscaping features including 9 new trees and an expanded no-mow zone.

The area is currently closed to visitors and River Grove will be the temporary launch site for this paddling season. The project is expected to be complete by the end of summer 2022.

Lake St. Clair Beach Area Improvements

The Huron-Clinton Metroparks are working with the U.S. EPA and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) through a non-point source pollution grant to improve water quality at Lake St. Clair Metropark’s beach. This project aims to address historical challenges with Escherichia coli from avian sources (gulls and geese) by discouraging gulls and geese from landing on the beach through planting native grasses and plants, and installing acoustic bird deterrents, which will help to improve water quality. The total project is estimated at $400,000 and $300,000 in grant funding was awarded to assist with this project.

Why Native plantings?

Gulls and geese prefer to land on wide open spaces, so by planting native grasses, flowers, and trees, it will help break up the wide-open spaces, and help deter them from landing. Native plantings also help to reduce stormwater runoff and provide habitat for wildlife such as birds and butterflies.

Why Acoustic bird deterrents?

You might notice some small speakers in the planting beds. These solar powered speakers use bird calls used to keep birds away. The sounds from the speakers replicate authentic goose and gull distress sounds which lets geese know to evacuate, but they do not harm insects, pets, or birds. You will likely not notice any noise coming from the speakers, and eventually geese and gulls will learn not to return through behavior modification.

Once installation is complete, the Metroparks will enter into a contract with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to perform water quality monitoring in coordination with the Macomb County Health Department through 2023.

In addition, visitors will notice a separate project taking place near the beach. Crews will be replacing the East boardwalk decking which had become weathered and damaged. The project began in March 2021. The end result will be an improved 1200 foot stretch of boardwalk to last into the future.

Lower Huron Iron Belle Trail Extension

Development of a segment of the statewide Iron-Belle Trail connecting Lower Huron Metropark to East Huron River Drive near Belleville. The project will improve accessibility and safety to extend the trail route for a half-mile section, and include planting of trees native to Michigan, new signage and a trailhead. The project will provide critical connections to the community and lengthen the existing Iron-Belle Trail through Wayne County. The trail runs adjacent to the nationally designated Huron River Water Trail and also will provide access to the park’s Walnut Grove Campground.

Schedule: This project is under construction during the summer of 2022, and will be completed by the end of the year.

This project is funded by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, and the Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

Lower Huron Turtle Cove Water Slide

Design has begun on a new 35-foot tall 3-flume slide at Turtle Cove Family Aquatic Center. This feature will be add to the zero-entry leisure pool, lazy river, slides and sprayscape with dumping bucket that opened in May 2008.  The new project will include site components, mechanical building and the slide that will provide 3 different slide experiences. Click on the PDFs below to view the slide design and location.

Slide Plan – 35′ TOWER

SLIDE Within Turtle Cove

Stony Creek 26-Mile Connector Trail

This non-motorized trail will connect the Stony Creek Metropark Hike-Bike Trail to the 26-Mile Rd sidewalk connection to the Macomb Orchard Trail. Users will be able to walk or bike into Stony Creek Metropark via 26-Mile Road, located a half-mile west from Mound Road.

Schedule: Construction will be starting in mid-May and will be completed by the end of summer 2022.

This project is in partnership with Macomb County Department of Roads and funded by MDOT’s Transportation Alternative Program and the Huron-Clinton Metroparks

Stony Creek Boat Launch Parking Lot Redevelopment

Stony Creek Metropark

In November 2019, the Metroparks Board of Commissioners approved site plans for what Stony Creek Boat Launch area would look like after a three phase redevelopment project.

Work on phase one began in summer 2020. Phase I included the completion of the parking lot, demolition of the old hike-bike trail alignment, and development of naturalized swales between the lot and park road. One of the projects identified during the recently-completed storm water management planning process, a culvert in poor condition under the old hike-bike trail, was addressed with the completion of this first phase. This new parking lot configuration will improve safety of the Hike-Bike trail by eliminating the entrance crossing, improve traffic flow in the lot, provide accessible boat parking, and address the surface and drainage structures by remove curbing and strategically incorporating additional plantings to improve storm water management.

Phase II will include the design and construction of the new restroom building and associated site amenities and will begin in 2021. Phase III will include the demolition of the existing restroom building and construction of a new shade feature on site. The existing restroom building/warming shelter does not meet accessibility standards. Plans will demolish the existing building following the construction of a new restroom building on the opposite side of the boat launch driveway. The new building is proposed to include four universal access restrooms and a warming area facing Stony Creek Lake.

Stony Creek Off Leash Dog Area

The first off-leash dog area within the Metroparks is being built at Stony Creek Metropark. Construction will start in 2021 at the Oakgrove picnic area. Dog owners can look forward to two fenced areas of nearly three acres each (allowing for small dogs and all dogs alternating to reduce turf wear). Visitors will access the space with a 10-foot wide asphalt path from the parking lot to the bullpen area. Owners and furry visitors will enjoy a concrete bullpen with water bottle/pet filling station, benches, planting bed, and dog waste stations. Within the dog areas, accessible aggregate gravel surfaces will be used in each high traffic area and to create 6-foot wide paths extending into the off-leash areas. An accessible unisex portable toilet will be placed on concrete outside of bullpen area, and accessible parking spaces will be created.

This project is being partially funded by a $50,000 Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant. The Metroparks is providing in-kind services in the amount of $38,500 and the remaining outlay of $75,007.80 will come from the Metroparks Capital Project Fund.

The project is expected to be complete in 2022.

Trail Improvements

The Metroparks are investing in trail improvements to maintain an exceptional experience for visitors. The Metroparks are committed to removing barriers, creating and improving access, and increasing recreation opportunities for all. All future trail projects are designed to meet or exceed ADA requirements, and look for ways to remove barriers to access so that individuals of all abilities have equitable access to Metroparks facilities, programs, services, and activities. When adding, repairing and improving trail segments, our designs consider grade changes, surface type and width to make using our trails easier for all visitors.

Visitors can expect to see multiple trail improvements throughout the year.  Some will include Hike-Bike Trail improvements, as well as accessibility improvements. Current project include:

Kensington Metropark

Accessibility improvements will be made to the following paths:

  • North Hickory shelter to the restrooms
  • South Martindale shelter to the vault restrooms and Martindale Beach
  • North Martindale shelter to Martindale Beach

Lower Huron Metropark

Accessibility improvements will be made to the following paths:

  • Hawthorn Glade North shelter to restrooms and Turtle Cove Family Aquatic Center
  • Tulip Tree shelter to the restrooms

Stony Creek Metropark

Accessibility improvements will be made to the following paths:

  • West Branch North shelter to restroom
  • Wintercove North shelter to playground and to Wintercove South shelter

Willow Metropark

Accessibility improvements will be made to the following paths:

  • Fox Meadows North shelter to South shelter to Pool Activity Area

Willow Huron River Floodplain

Improve habitat along the Huron River at Willow Metropark in Wayne County by restoring eroded river bank, in-stream, floodplain and native prairie habitat.  The project will increase habitat complexity and biodiversity, create wildlife corridor along the river, benefit native pollinators, capture and infiltrate stormwater runoff, relocate and improve a river launch site, and decrease flood potential.

5.16.21 – Currently working with an engineering firm to design the in-stream work which consists of a bioengineered streambank with a combination of soil lifts with naturalized riparian plantings to restore the streambank habitat.  Pre-implementation river studies have been conducted, as well as a fish survey and the Huron River Watershed Council did some water testing. The results will be compared to the post-implementation study results once the project is completed.

This project is in partnership with National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund and several volunteer organizations.

Willow Park Office

Willow Metropark 

Currently, the Park Office at Lower Huron houses staff and operations for Lower Huron, Willow and Oakwoods Metroparks. A larger office is being developed at Willow Metropark to address current issues with the aging building and use areas for the public at the existing office and to create a more centralized office location for the three parks.

Site and Architectural drawings are being finalized for the new office building. Visitors may notice some clearing and survey work at the location of the new office building. The project is targeted to be started in late fall and will take approximately one year to complete.

1/25/21 – Project Update

Ground was broken this month for the new Willow Park Office. The contractor is North American Construction Enterprises. They plan on working on earth work and utilities during the winter months.

4/19/22 – Project Update

The building is now constructed with work being done on the inside of the building. Anticipated competition is July 2022.

Willow Washago Pond

What happened to Washago Pond?

At Washago Pond, a pipe beneath the water that is part of the control structure of the dam developed a leak and drained the pond. The water drained through the Regan Drain to the Huron River. The structure is considered a low hazard dam due to the fact any failure would not have an impact on people or other properties.

Our staff is following our previously established action plan and working with all relevant state agencies. We are currently evaluating options and developing a plan for the area. We will be providing updates to the public on our website as these plans are developed and implemented.

What is a control structure?

The control structure is what controls the water level in the pond. For Washago pond that is a vertical corrugated metal pipe under water. When the water level goes above the opening in the top of the pipe, the water drains down to Regan Drain. When the water level is lower than the top of that pipe, no water drains into the lower part of the Regan Drain and Huron River.

When will it be restored?

The area of Willow Metropark where Washago Pond once was is being restored to natural habitat. In May of 2021, the corrugated metal control structure at Washago Pond failed which drained the pond down to its more natural water level. Staff are working with the State of Michigan as well as partners at the Huron River Watershed Council to finalize plans for the site that includes removing the previous dam structure and restoring the area with native plantings. The Washago Pond dam has been on the Huron River Watershed Council’s list of potential dam removals to improve the health of the watershed. This redevelopment plan would provide improvements to the watershed as a whole including diverse habitat for fish, aquatic invertebrates and amphibians as well as providing a filtering effect for rainwater.

This rendering of the area is the working concept approved by the Metroparks Board of Commissioners in September of 2021, but final plans are still being developed through the permitting process with the State of Michigan.

What happened to all the fish and waterfowl that were there?

Water drained steadily and slowly over 24 hours through the water control structure into the Regan Drain and then into the Huron River. We anticipate that a large amount of fish were able to drain safely into the river. We did not encounter a large number of stranded fish on dry land or in the remaining pond.

Under guidance of the DNR Fisheries Division volunteers worked to net and transfer large fish (that were over 6”) to the Huron River.

Washago Pond did not provide any permanent waterfowl habitat previously. It was used by water fowl for transient feeding and bathing. There continues to be a large basin of water in the center of the pond that is still providing these resources for waterfowl.

Is the pond still draining or has it stopped?

The pond has finished draining and is currently at its natural equilibrium as part of the watershed. Water is supplied to Washago Pond through the Regan Drain. The Regan Drain is a small tributary that runs through Washago Pond and into the Huron River. The level of water flow in the drain is dependent on rainfall and will fluctuate and continue to change seasonally. Currently there is steady flow through the Regan Drain.

How often is the dam at Washago Pond inspected?

Washago Pond dam is inspected every 5 years and has an emergency action plan on file, as required by the state. Our Last inspection was in 2017. A small leak in the control structure was noted in previous inspections and has been monitored while staff developed a plan for how it should be addressed. The condition had remained unchanged in the last inspection, and the dam was reported as “fair overall condition” by the inspector.

GRANTS

More information coming soon!

PARTNERS

More information coming soon!

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