Lenawee County is home to a lush landscape that is rich with native wildlife. Residents of all ages can connect with nature and enjoy a variety of recreational activities at our many local parks. According to a recent survey, 98% of Lenawee County residents have visited at least one of the public parks and 25% of residents reported that they visit the local parks on a weekly basis.
Brian Sills, a resident of Blissfield brings his young children to the Lenawee County parks to enjoy the many family-oriented activities. “We like to come up to the park to walk on the trails or play on the playground. In the winter we like to go sledding,” explains Brian. “We would miss having the park if it wasn’t available.”
The 419 acres of parkland and miles of trails in our parks are maintained by the Lenawee County Parks Department. Their mission is to enhance the quality of life in Lenawee County by providing recreational, social and cultural opportunities for the public. They also play a role in the preservation, conservation, restoration and promotion of the natural, scenic and historical resources in Lenawee County.
Gerber Hill Park – A Hidden Gem
There is a long history behind Gerber Hill Park. It was formed by glaciers, which left a sand base where the park is now located. With over 40 acres of land, this park provides many family-friendly activities, such as horseshoe pits, soccer and baseball fields, basketball and volleyball courts, playgrounds and a sledding hill for winter months. There is also a pond where visitors can observe local wildlife.
The park has also become a second home to local cross country running teams. Longtime resident Al Navarro has been coming to Gerber Hill Park for years. After complaining that his cross country team at Blissfield Community Schools was unable to compete in hilly areas, he was contacted by Frank Gerber who offered use of the park’s rolling landscape for the team to practice. “He offered to cut the grass for us and cut some trails for us,” Al recalls. “This park is a hidden gem because unless you are actually from the area you don’t know what’s out here.”
Bob Griffin is the cross country coach for Britton Deerfield Schools. He brings his cross country teams to practice at the park on a regular basis. “It is close to our school and it’s close to home,” says Bob. “It is very well-maintained and it has the perfect mix of flat areas, rolling hills and steep hills. It is the perfect cross country course.”
Features and Benefits of Local Parks
In addition to Gerber Hill Park, there are many other local parks that residents can enjoy within the county, including Bicentennial, Iron Lake, Medina and Ramsdell. Each park offers its own unique atmosphere. Some parks are more developed, while others are geared toward preserving nature. Most parks offer picnic shelters with grills, playground equipment, sports fields and various recreational activities, such as hiking, fishing, boating and biking.
The parks are open from 8:00 a.m. until dusk from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, unless otherwise noted. During the off-season, the parks are open on weather permitting weekends. There is no entry fee for any of the parks in the county.
Adequate Funding is Key to Supporting the Parks
A successful parks recreation program usually relies on many sources of funding. The Lenawee County Parks Department relies on general tax dollars, grants, and gifts from citizens. Annual parks revenues in Lenawee County averaged about $34,000 from 2009 through 2013. Ongoing support through tax revenue is critical to ensuring that the parks remain open and in good condition.
Investing in Parks, Investing in You
The county parks are a valued resource for all citizens. The Lenawee County Parks Department is committed to maintaining ‘green space’ for the benefit of our residents and to preserve and protect wildlife in the area. Lenawee County has updated its five-year parks and recreation plan to define its goals and objectives through the year 2019. This plan outlines the existing recreation facilities and programs within the county and describes the desired action to be taken to improve and maintain recreation facilities in the future.
Ongoing maintenance and upkeep is critical to keeping the parks in excellent condition for the residents of Lenawee County. This will ensure that individuals and families will continue to enjoy the parks for many years to come.
For more information about how Lenawee County is investing in parks, visit us online
or call 1-888-448-1387.