skip to Main Content


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.


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

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.

Dexter-Huron Launch & Picnic Area Renovations

The project involves the renovation of the Dexter-Huron Metropark launch site and picnic area for improved accessibility using universal design principles, to comprise: 1) parking lot expansion for designated trailer parking and increased accessible spaces; 2) new aggregate loading and unloading area; 3) launch renovations with new floating launch; 4) picnic shelter renovations; 5) concrete access walkways to launch, picnic shelter, and playground; 6) playground improvements; 7) picnic area improvements; and 8) additional landscaping features. Dexter-Huron Metropark and this project are located on the National Huron River Water Trail, Washtenaw County Border-to-Border Trail, and the Iron Belle Trail.

Schedule: This project be completed by the end of 2023.

This project has been funded by the Natural Resources Trust Fund (MDNR) and the Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

Healing the Huron River Headwaters

The project involves the restoration of the Huron River headwaters area, including the Huron Swamp, West Wetland Complex, and Michigan Nature Association’s Timberland Swamp Nature Sanctuary, through invasive species removal, tree plantings, and native prairie/meadow plugs and seed plantings. This restoration will substantially improve important habitats that have been impacted by the loss of ash and oak trees and the subsequent expansion of invasive species to replace them. Community volunteers will aid in the collection of seed from intact park ecosystems guided by Metroparks staff. Students, scout troops, and other volunteers will also create and distribute native prairie seed balls.

This project is in partnership with Michigan Nature Association and funded by the Consumers Energy Foundation and the Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

UPDATE – November 2022

In November, Girl Scouts participated in an interactive program at Indian Springs Metropark. They explored the life cycle of a native plan by dressing up as a flower and modeling the plants structures and functions, learned about the vital roles native plants play in maintaining healthy ecosystems and more.  They learned about seed dispersal firsthand by helping out Natural Resources department spread seed bombs of native flowers in the park.

UPDATE – June 2023

The Metroparks Natural Resources department hosted a volunteer work day at Indian Springs as part of the Healing the Headwaters Grant project from Consumers Energy. Volunteers helped with planting pollinator native plugs on multiple days so that eventually the area will look more bio-diverse.

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.

Indian Springs New Playground

Indian Springs Metropark New Playground 

Construction is underway at Indian Springs Metropark to remove the existing playground and maze. In 2023 the space will be host to a new playground for ages 5 to 12 years old.

4.25.23 – Rendering for the new playground.

Lake Erie Cherry Island Trail Improvements

This development project will improve a nature trail and associated amenities for accessibility using universal design principles, including: 1) concrete pads for 3 accessible van parking spaces; 2) an 8’ wide aggregate trail from parking to new trailhead; 3) a 6’ wide accessible aggregate path at viewing area; 4) accessible-related amenities [viewing scopes, picnic tables, bike hoops]; 5) removal and replacement of a land-bridge dirt trail with 10’ wide boardwalk; 6) new split rail fence; 7) relocation and access to benches; 8) improvements to the existing boardwalk; 9) 5 native trees; and 10) overall elevation and modification of aggregate trail for accessibility.

Perhaps the most impactful change is #5—the removal of the land bridge to reconnect the lake to the marsh. Opening the wetland to Lake Erie through the land bridge removal will restore the hydrologic connection and improve marsh habitat while allowing fish and waterfowl passage into a currently isolated portion of the marsh.

Funding provided in partnership by Huron-Clinton Metroparks, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.

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 Off Leash Dog Area Development

Development of an accessible off leash dog area will include two fenced areas for both large and small dogs, a dog run with a water bottle and pet water station, benches, landscaping and dog waste stations. Additional improvements include new pathways and parking lot improvements.

Funded through a Land and Water Conservation Grant.

Lower Huron Walnut Grove Campground Development

The project involves redevelopment of the Walnut Grove Campground with improved features and accessibility using universal design principles, to comprise: 1) six new campsites; 2) seven ADA campsites with concrete pads; 3) water and electric hookups to all sites; 4) accessible picnic tables throughout; 5) firewood storage shed; 6) playground upgrades; 7) landscaping including fifty native tree plantings; 8) two drinking fountain/water bottle filling stations; and 9) parking lot improvements including removal of excess parking areas. The project provides improvements to a campground utilized by those traveling on the National Huron River Water Trail and the Iron Belle Trail, both which have direct access to the campground. It is only one of two public campgrounds in Wayne County and the only one located in a natural setting. The overall intent of this project is to eliminate obstacles and add features that will provide an enjoyable camping experience for all users of the campground.

Funding provided in partnership by Huron-Clinton Metroparks, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.

Protecting Lake Erie Marsh & Waters with Green Infrastructure Practices

The Metroparks will partner with the Wyandot of Anderdon Nation to implement green infrastructure measures at Lake Erie Metropark and their Six Points site, both which lie at the junction of the Detroit River and Lake Erie. Activities include the construction of green infrastructure at Lake Erie Metropark, ecological restoration of the Six Points site, and community engagement through public meetings, focus groups, educational signage, and volunteer maintenance groups. Anticipated deliverables include the installation of 16 naturalized swales along park roads and parking areas, a rain garden at the Metropark’s interpretive center, and the restoration of a riparian area (about 8 acres) with native vegetation at the Wyandot Six Points. The outcomes of the project include the reduction of nonpoint source pollution into Lake Erie, improved habitat around Brownstone Creek, and increased public knowledge and community engagement in stormwater management through green infrastructure.

This project is in partnership with the Wyandot of Anderdon Nation and funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Oakwoods Accessible Nature Trail Development

The project involves renovations for accessibility using universal design principles of a nature trail (Split Log Trail), Nature Center, and their surrounding amenities, comprising: 1) parking lot improvements with 8 barrier free space additions in 2 locations; 2) resurfacing of the asphalt walkway from the parking lot to the Nature Center; 3) building entry and restroom modifications; 4) replacement of the existing Split Log Trail surface with an 8’ wide compacted aggregate surface; 5) upgraded observation deck; 6) various amenities including picnic tables, drinking station, benches, bike rack, and dog waste station; and 7) interpretive and locational signage. Oakwoods Metropark is on the National Huron River Water Trail, the Downriver Linked Greenways East West Trail, and the Iron Belle Trail.

This project is funded in partnership with the Natural Resources Trust Fund and 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.

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 Disc Golf Course

If you visit the area around the Willow Metropark disc golf course you may notice staff performing some tree work being conducted. Staff and volunteers are working together to make improvements to the disc golf course. The improvements will change the 24-hole course to a 18-hole course with some holes being combined to create a course that plays longer than the existing one. Additionally, some of the holes that are frequently under water and wet will be eliminated and the starting and finishing holes will be moved next to the paved lot and vault latrines, to make play more enjoyable and easier to get to. Work will continue through early summer of 2023.

Willow Huron River Floodplain

Habitat improvements along the Huron River at Willow Metropark in Wayne County includes restoring an eroded riverbank, in-stream toe wood, removing impermeable surfaces, and expanding native prairie habitat. The project will increase habitat complexity and biodiversity, create a wildlife corridor along the river, benefit native pollinators, capture and infiltrate stormwater runoff, improve a river launch site, and decrease flood potential.

5.16.21 – Worked 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 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.


Grant funding is a key resource for the Metroparks to increase accessibility, conserve and protect natural areas and wildlife, and improve recreational opportunities and public spaces. Huron-Clinton Metroparks and the Metroparks Foundation actively seek out and apply for grant funding throughout the year.

Since 2018, more than 70 grants have been awarded to the Metroparks, totaling over $9 million.

Grant funding will continue to be important for years to come as new projects and community needs are identified. Current grant projects are below.

Metroparks Grants

Explore the list of active grants and funding amounts.

Consumers Energy Foundation - $100,000

Restore the Huron River headwaters area of Indian Springs Metropark, including the Huron Swamp, West Wetland Complex and the Michigan Nature Association’s Timberland Swamp Nature Sanctuary through invasive species removal, tree plantings and native prairie/meadow plugs, and seed plantings. Click here to learn more about the Consumers Energy Foundation.

DTE Energy Foundation - $4,000

Funding for 22 trees at Hudson Mills Metroparks and three trees at Wolcott Mill Metropark.

Environment, Great Lakes & Energy - $348,816

Lake St. Clair Metropark – $300,000
This non-point source pollution grant is addressing avian sources of E. Coli at the beach by implementing acoustic bird deterrents and native plants to break up the birds sightlines. Regular water testing will be conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Dexter-Huron, Delhi, Hudson Mills, Huron Meadows, Indian Springs, Kensington, Lake Erie, Lower Huron, Oakwoods & Willow Metroparks – $48,816
Added recycling bins for plastics to the Metroparks in Livingston, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne Counties.

Green Macomb - $6,750

Stony Creek Metropark – $3,000
Funding for 20 tree plantings.

Lake St. Clair Metroparks – $3,750
Funding for 25 tree plantings.

Land & Water Conservation Fund - $711,900

Oakwoods Metropark – $124,000
Provides accessibility improvements to the Split Log trail, Nature Center and nearby amenities.

Lower Huron Metropark – $300,000
Walnut Grove Campground improvements including adding seven ADA campsites with concrete pads, six new campsites, adding water and electrical hookups to all campsites, and accessibility improvements to nearby amenities.

Lake Erie Metropark – $122,500
Universal accessibility improvements including a floating launch, soft landing, parking spaces, picnic areas, walkways, and restroom modifications.

Lower Huron Metropark – $165,400
Develop as off-leash dog area comprised of two fenced in areas for large and small dogs, a pet-friendly water bottle filling station, and other accessible amenities.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Iron Belle Trail Grant - $82,075

Iron Belle Trail design and engineering at Lower Huron Metropark.

Michigan Invasive Species Grant, EGLE - $30,000

Address early detection and the spread of the invasive spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula), a Michigan watch list species.

Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund - $1,173,150

Dexter-Huron Metropark – $192,700
Renovation of the launch site and picnic area for improved accessibility using universal design principles.

Lower Huron Metropark – $300,000
This project will extend the Iron Belle Trail within Lower Huron Metropark a half-mile to E. Huron Drive. The paved trail will be entirely accessible including safety improvements and native plantings.

Lake Erie Metropark – $300,000
Provide accessibility improvements to the Cherry Island Nature trails and its amenities.  Also, removes the land bridge and replaces it with a boardwalk that will allow for connectivity between the marsh and Lake Erie, as well as provide a pass through space for kayaks and canoes.

Oakwoods Metroparks – $113,000
The project involves renovations for accessibility using universal design principles of a nature trail (Split Log Trail), Nature Center, and their surrounding amenities.

National Environmental Education Foundation - $20,000

Expand mobility and accessibility to Metropark beaches through beach wheelchairs assistive technology, providing sand and in-water access at the beaches at Kensington, Lake St. Clair and Stony Creek Metroparks.

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation - $250,000

Improves habitat complexity, biodiversity, and connectivity of the Big Bend area of Willow Metropark to enhance climate resiliency.  The project includes removal of impermeable surfaces, extension and restoration of the native prairie, restoration of the eroded riverbank, the addition of river habitat structures, bio-swales, and addition/extension of a riparian buffer zone along the river.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - $1,449,609

The Metroparks are partnering with the Great Lakes Commission on the implementation of the project which includes softening of 1,200 feet of hardened shoreline and enhancing nearly two acres of Lake Erie coastal marsh by restoring shoreline habitat and creating a network of shallow pools and channels within the Metropark.

Renew MI, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy - $1,000,000

The Metroparks are partnering with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy to assist with brownfield remediation activities at West Riverfront Park.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - $483,500

Implements green infrastructure measures (naturalized swales along park roads/parking area and rain gardens at the nature Center) across Lake Erie Metropark and provides restoration of the Wyandot Six Points property located just north of the park to help capture and filter stormwater runoff.

U.S. Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative - $160,211

Lake St. Clair Metropark Black Creek shoreline restoration.

Metroparks Foundation Grants

Explore the list of active grants and funding amounts.

Anonymous Foundation - $10,000

Metroparks Interpretive Department provides Get Out And Learn (GOAL) offers scholarships to cover transportation for in-person field trips or outreach programs at southeast Michigan schools. 

Harry A. & Margaret Towsley Foundation - $5,000

Metroparks Interpretive Department provides Get Out And Learn (GOAL) offers scholarships to cover transportation for in-person field trips or outreach programs at southeast Michigan schools. 

Impact100 Oakland County - $90,000

Kensington Metropark Farm Center received the Impact100 grant in Oakland County to fund “Seeding a Green Future” programs that uses sustainable agriculture to teach STEM concepts to middle school students at Thompson International Academy in the Southfield School District.

Erb Foundation - $45,000

Improve water quality through the acquisition of Wayne County land parcels that can be developed for successful stormwater management through stormwater storage, stream buffers and naturalization.

Ford Volunteer Corps - $11,500

Oakwoods Metropark – $4,000
Ford volunteers and Metroparks Natural Resources staff will work together to plant specialized native prairie wildflowers and grass to help diversify the unique and rare tall grass prairie at Oakwoods Metropark.

Wolcott Mill Metropark – $7,500
Ford volunteers and Metroparks Farm Center staff will construct and replace all 40 raised timber garden beds at Wolcott Mill Metropark Farm Center. The garden beds are used in educational programs.

Four County Community Fund - $17,350

Stony Creek Metropark – $9,350
Wolcott Mill Metropark – $8,000
Supports experiential learning for students in the Four County Community Foundation service area, through coverage of programming fees and transportation costs.

PNC and Young Foundation - $7,500

Metroparks Interpretive Department provides free programs to early childhood education classes.

Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation - $2,682,755

Multi-use Trail Connectors – $1,782,750
Multi-use trail connectors including the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Island Lake Trail project and matching funds for the Lower Huron Belle Trail extension.

Lake Erie, Lower Huron, Oakwoods, Willow Metroparks – $900,000
Outdoor recreation projects.

REI - $18,500

Rouge Park prairie improvements in partnership with the City of Detroit and the Friends of Rouge Park.


More information coming soon!

Back To Top