OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — A new nature center opened to the public Oct. 3 at Lost Lake Nature Park, located off Predmore Road, west of Rochester Road.
“This is a great day,” Phyllis Higman, a conservation scientist with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, said at the nature center opening. “Glacial interlobal activity is why Oakland County is so hilly. When the lobes collided, kettle lakes formed, with water running everywhere, and mounds of earth — canes — were created. Oakland County is the land of kettles and canes. I call it a roller coaster.”
Higman said Lost Lake Nature Park features several wetlands, an open-water lake, a marsh, Michigan holly plants, a remnant oak pine barren that is globally and locally rare, and a diversity of habitats that are all interconnected.
“One hundred and fifty different species have been catalogued, with a relatively low amount of invasive species,” Higman said. “(The park) provides a glimpse of history. It is native ecosystems that sustain life. The more pieces we take out, the less resilient our ecosystem is.”
The 58-acre Lost Lake Nature Park was purchased by Oakland Township in 2004 with land preservation millage funds.
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 are thrilled to be able to expand our nature programs,” Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Director Mindy Milos-Dale said. “This place is fabulous.”
“We’ve been working on this for a long time,” said David Mackley, chairman of the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission. “It is finally here, and we are proud to have it. It took a lot of planning.”
Upcoming programs at the nature center include a Sensational Spiders session for middle school students Oct. 22 and a Nature Prepares for Winter class for preschoolers Nov. 12.
Lost Lake Nature Park also features a recently renovated sledding hill and a lakeside dock that accommodates wheelchair users who wish to kayak.
“We have lots going on here,” said Becky McLogan, Oakland Township recreation manager.
The park is economically important to the area, said Higman.
“People want to live in natural areas — to fish, kayak and hike as a respite from our busy, developed world,” she said. “It re-invigorates our spirit and reminds us that we are part of a larger whole.”
Higman urged all to visit the park at different times of the day and in different seasons, in all kinds of weather.
“Protect this place and manage it wisely,” she said. “And pay it forward by sharing this place.”
For more information about upcoming Oakland Township nature programs, visit www.oaklandtownship.org.
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