New online map helps visitors explore Oakland Township parks

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published February 23, 2021

 The Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission developed a new interactive online map of the parks and natural areas in the Oakland Township park system.

The Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission developed a new interactive online map of the parks and natural areas in the Oakland Township park system.

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OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — The Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission is encouraging people to head outdoors with a new online tool.

The department recently released an interactive online park map at bit.ly/3g0GaRs that township officials say uses ready-to-go bookmarks to locate all of the parks and natural areas in the Oakland Township park system.

“The word is still getting out about it,” said Ben VanderWeide, the township’s natural areas stewardship manager. “The couple of people that I have chatted with about it said, ‘I didn’t know that we had this park over here, or that we had this area in a park that I visit all the time,’ so I think folks are definitely using it to explore new areas in the parks — which is encouraging.”

Oakland Township manages 1,500 acres of parkland, along with a portion of the Paint Creek Trail.

“There are about 10 major parks that you’ll be able to get to, and then we have about half a dozen other smaller natural areas along the Paint Creek Trail that folks can access,” VanderWeide explained.

The 10 major parks include: Cranberry Lake Park, Charles Ilsley Park, Lost Lake Nature Park, Marsh View Park, Watershed Ridge Park, Draper Twin Lake Park, Blue Heron Environmental Area, Stony Creek Ravine Nature Park, Bear Creek Nature Park and Gallagher Creek Park.

“The parks have been getting much greater use with this pandemic,” said Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Director Mindy Milos-Dale. “It’s just really wonderful to see people being able to get out — in spite of all of this — at our parks.”

Visitors who wish to explore a park online before heading there in person can visit the app and simply click on the name of each park to see a brief description. Those who are already at a park can access the app by scanning the QR code located within the park kiosks.

From the app, users can change the base map, zoom in and out, show their location, and measure distances or area.

“It’s a great resource for discovering new places,” VanderWeide said. “One of the things I’ve heard from folks is that they are finding places they didn’t know were there before … and then using the interactive park tool to help them get there when they get out to the parks.”

VanderWeide noted that the map does not include parks managed by other agencies, including Bald Mountain State Recreation Area, which is managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, or Stony Creek Metropark, managed by the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, or private parks within subdivisions.

Those who prefer a print version of the township’s parks can head to the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Office at 4393 Collins Road in Rochester.

For more information, visit parks@oaklandtownship.org or call (248) 651-7810.

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