Oakland Township preps for new trailhead at north end of Paint Creek Trail

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published February 24, 2021

 A new Paint Creek Junction Park trailhead near the Paint Creek Trail, off of Orion Road, is slated to include a parking lot, a rest area and more.

A new Paint Creek Junction Park trailhead near the Paint Creek Trail, off of Orion Road, is slated to include a parking lot, a rest area and more.

File photo by Linda Shepard

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OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — Trail users will soon have a new place to access the northern end of the Paint Creek Trail.

Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Director Mindy Milos-Dale said the township is in the process of adding a new trailhead at Paint Creek Junction Park, north of Adams and Orion roads, which will service the northern part of the Paint Creek Trail.

The township’s Parks and Recreation Commission purchased the 5-acre parcel at 2210 Orion Road in 2003 to allow for future trail connections between the Bald Mountain State Recreation Area, the Paint Creek Trail and Marsh View Park. The land, which was renamed from Marsh View Connector to Paint Creek Junction Park in February 2015, is currently undeveloped.

“There is nothing there right now. It’s totally undeveloped. So if you or anybody were to go by, you would just see an old field and you wouldn’t have a clue it was there,” Milos-Dale said. “There are probably going to be a lot of people that will be pleasantly surprised when this old field turns into a really nice trailhead with some great support facilities. This is going to be a big project for us.”

The new trailhead will allow the township to add a 35-space parking lot, including spaces for horse trailers, a well for drinking water, a picnic area, restrooms and a small connector trail to the Paint Creek Trail. Eventually, a small playground could also be added, said Daniel Simon, the vice president of the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission.

“We’ve wanted to have a parking facility in the northern end of the trail for a long time,” Milos-Dale explained. “This will meet that need, both for the trailway, as well as for the Bald Mountain Recreation Area, which has proposed having a trail connection to the Paint Creek Trail in that vicinity. This would service people that not only want to get onto the Paint Creek Trail, but maybe use that trail connection as well.”

Simon said the Paint Creek Trail is part of the Polly Ann Trail System as well as the Iron Belle Trail that’s over 700 miles long and goes from Ironwood, Michigan, to Belle Isle in Detroit.

“That’s about 65% complete, and different townships, cities and counties are helping to join all 700 miles into a continuous pathway. It’s pretty exciting that Michigan is doing that, and Paint Creek Junction is going to be part of that,” he said.

 The Paint Creek Trail, township officials said, also has great fishing access areas all along the trail.

“There is actually a really nice fishing access area that’s not far from this proposed parking lot,” Milos-Dale said. “So, this will provide access for a number of different facilities.”

The project is expected to cost approximately $300,000. Milos-Dale said the township will pay approximately $75,000, and the remainder will be covered by a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant.

She said they intend to do the construction during the next construction season.

For more information, call the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission at (248) 651-7810.

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