Oakland Township stewardship staff members lead a guided tour last year at Stony Creek Ravine Nature Park.

Oakland Township stewardship staff members lead a guided tour last year at Stony Creek Ravine Nature Park.

Photo provided by the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Department

Guided park tours to explore natural areas

209 park acres to be added, millage renewal on the ballot

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published September 4, 2018


OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — Discover a hidden Stony Creek overlook and learn the secrets of pine barrens and kettle lakes during two free guided park tours this fall.

Township land stewardship staff will lead tours of Lost Lake Nature Park and Stony Creek Ravine Nature Park.

Lost Lake Nature Park, located off of Predmore Road, west of Rochester Road, is an excellent example of a glacial landscape, said Oakland Township Natural Areas Stewardship Manager Ben VanderWeide.

“All of Michigan was formed by glaciers as they expanded and retreated, so you can see that there,” VanderWeide said. “A kettle lake is formed when a glacier recedes. Blocks of ice get caught, dirt fills around the blocks of ice, the ice melts, and you have a hole in the ground that becomes Lost Lake.”

The park is also an oak pine barren.

“It is a very uncommon plant community in southeast Michigan,” VanderWeide said. “It used to be more common.”

The tour will “teach not only about the park, but about habitats we have on our own properties,” Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Director Mindy Milos-Dale said.

Stony Creek Ravine Nature Park, located off of Knob Creek Road, near Snell Road, features the west branch of Stony Creek.

“The ravine that surrounds the creek is quite steep, and the trail has a really nice overlook,” VanderWeide said. “The tour (will be) in peak fall color season, showcasing the colors.”

Future Stoney Creek Ravine Nature Park plans include adding land and creating an entrance and a parking lot.

“It is hard to find, so we are hoping to approve access to it,” VanderWeide said. “It is basically directly north of Stony Creek Metropark.”

He said concept plans include a potential connection to the metropark.

“We are in the process of adding 209 more acres. We have a grant to do it; it is in process right now,” Milos-Dale said. “When that goes through, the entrance will be off of Snell Road. Knob Creek Road is a temporary situation. It is a public road, so there is no reason to not access the park, but we want a more obvious entrance.”

Milos-Dale said both of the guided park tours are designed to introduce residents to some of the township green spaces that have been acquired with land preservation millage funds leveraged with grant funding.  

“We want to make sure our voters and residents know about the properties we have bought so far and see the qualities of them,” she said.

Since 2001, Oakland Township has used land preservation millage funds to acquire and protect 444 acres of green space.

The millage funds have also been used to manage natural areas across the township’s 1,100-acre park system and areas along the Paint Creek Trail.

The land preservation millage expires in 2020, and this fall, township voters will be asked to approve or deny a renewal on the Nov. 6 ballot. The proposal asks for a renewal of the 0.6310-mill levy for 10 years. Approval of the proposal would result in the authorization to collect up to $927,318 in the first year. Residents of an Oakland Township home valued at $200,000 would pay $63 per year for the land preservation millage, if approved by voters.

The Lost Lake Nature Park tour will be held 6-8 p.m. Sept. 20, and the Stony Creek Ravine Nature Park tour will be held 1-3 p.m. Oct. 20. For more information, visit www.oaklandtownship.org or call (248) 651-7810.