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Oakland County launches interactive map to help residents beat cabin fever

By: Kayla Dimick, Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published February 16, 2016


OAKLAND COUNTY — Although the skies are dark and the days are shorter, Oakland County officials are urging residents to beat cabin fever and get outside this winter. 

County officials recently debuted a new interactive map on their website to make it easier for residents and visitors to find outdoor activities and things of interest around Oakland County each month. 

The interactive map is included on an outdoor activities blog, which can be found on the county’s homepage. Though it was just launched last month, the blog already has a long list of entries, from tips on ice safety to winter bird-watching updates.

From White Lake to Royal Oak, residents using the map are able to discover activities they may not have realized are right in their own backyard.

“One of the great things about the map is that it makes it clear that no matter where you live in Oakland County, you are literally minutes away from outdoor activities,” Phil Bertolini, Oakland County chief information officer and deputy county executive, said in a written statement. 

The map, according to Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, will be another way that county residents can engage in all of the recreation activities available in the area. 

Not only will the map help residents beat the wintertime blues, but it also encourages residents to stay active. 

Patterson said it will complement the county’s existing health initiatives, like the program Energizing Connections for Healthier Oakland, or ECHO. The ECHO program comprises more than 50 community partnerships to address some of Oakland County’s top health issues, like obesity.

“My administration encourages families to lead a healthier and more active lifestyle by getting off the couch and taking advantage of all the outdoor events Oakland County has to offer,” Patterson said in a prepared statement.

Dan Stencil, executive director of Oakland County Parks and Recreation, said the new effort hasn’t been operative very long, so he hasn’t heard much feedback from residents.  But he has a feeling that as word spreads of the new feature, traffic to the parks and special programming events will pick up.

And that’s good, because this mild weather has actually decreased the number of visitors who have hit the parks for typical cold-weather activities, like ice fishing, during one of the more popular recreation seasons, he said.

“If you like to hike, bike or bird-watch, it’s great,” Stencil said. “If you like to snowshoe, ice fish, cross-country ski or ice skate, it’s not so good. There’s limited opportunities right now to engage in those traditional winter sport activities.”