Oakland TownshipAugust 8, 2012
New nature center to open at Lost Lake
By Linda Shepard
C & G Staff Writer
OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — A new nature center is just one of the improvements planned at Long Lake Park.
The center is scheduled to open at the park, located off of Predmore Road, between Kline and Rochester roads, in January 2013. Renovation of an existing home in the park will include construction of public restrooms and classrooms. A lakeside dock will be built for fishing, boating and wildlife observation. Parking will be improved, and the site will feature accommodations for the handicapped.
“This site is ideal for environmental education,” said Oakland Township Parks Planner Mindy Milos-Dale. A large portion of Lost Lake Park is composed of oak-pine barrens, she said. “Oak-pine barrens are endangered on a global and state range because of its rarity,”
According to Michigan State University Extension officials, oak-pine barrens are a fire-dependent, savanna community dominated by oaks and pines, having between 5 and 60 percent canopy cover, with or without a shrub layer. The oak-pine barrens’ ground layer contains plant species associated with both prairies and forests.
Lost Lake Park is also the site of one of Oakland Township’s highest points, and features a popular sledding hill and a nature trail that travels up the hill. The park has hosted several free outdoor concerts.
The 58-acre park was purchased by Oakland Township in 2004 with land preservation millage funds. Picnics and shore fishing are allowed at the 8-acre Lost Lake. Deer, wild turkeys, herons and wood ducks are a small sampling of the wildlife found at the park.
Milos-Dale said she has been in contact with school officials from Rochester Hills and Lake Orion about upcoming education programs at the new Lost Lake nature center. “I’ve met with science coordinators so our programs dovetail with their curriculums,” she said.
A caretaker will continue to occupy the upper level of the existing home in the park. “It is just remote enough that we need someone here,” she said.
The $154,900 project to renovate the park’s existing home into a nature center was funded by a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant matched by Oakland Township land preservation millage funds.
“We hope to make this park better than even what nature provided,” said David Walker of the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce, who presented a congratulatory certificate to Oakland Township officials at the nature center’s groundbreaking Aug. 3. “It takes a lot of time and effort to pull these plans,” Walker said.
“Every time we improve and enrich our environment in natural settings, it is very exciting,” said Adrienne Bass from the chamber’s board of directors. “This is only accomplished with assistance from a wider community.”
Oakland Township Supervisor Joan Fogler thanked Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission officials for their efforts toward the project. “They work so hard; you’d never know the hours they put in,” she said.
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