Park Director's Blog

15

Signs of Spring
By Amy McMillan

If the return of robins is the first true sign of Spring in Michigan, the return of potholes may be the second. Just like streets, roads, and parking lots everywhere in our fair state, potholes and puddles are “springing” up on Genesee County Parks’ gravel roads and in parking lots throughout our entire 11,000 acres.  These conditions make for a wet, bumpy, muddy, ride through your favorite Genesee County Parks.

Our skilled, hardworking mechanic team has our grading equipment tuned and ready to hit our park roads beginning April 15. All we need is a little cooperation from Mother Nature, which means reasonably dry roads and a dry forecast for 4 or 5 days to allow the freshly-graded surfaces to become hard packed so they can shed water instead of becoming an even muddier mess.

We appreciate your patience.  And, if you have an extra minute or two to think sunny, warm thoughts, we’d appreciate that, too. 

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8

New Study Proves Being Active Outdoors is Good for Your Physical and Mental Health
By Amy McMillan

 Even though there’s still white snow on the ground in April, I know that Spring is on its way.  That means warmer weather is right around the corner and time again for some of my favorite activities.

Being outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, listening to the birds and frogs, smelling freshly mowed grass, walking under the trees along Mott Lake, or paddling my kayak on the Flint river is my go-to cure for pretty much whatever everyday life trials and tribulations are making my head hurt.  It’s not so much that being outside makes problems disappear; it just clears my head and makes it easier to cope.  This, in turn, makes me a lot more fun to be around!  

Spending time in nature is the opposite of a vicious cycle; being in nature is a virtuous cycle.  And you don’t have to just take my word for it.  A new study proves it.  Being in nature actually changes our brains and makes us happier.  That means being active in nature is good for both your physical and mental health.  And, in Genesee County, we are lucky to have 11,000 acres of happiness in the form of your Genesee County Parks -- phenomenal natural resources right outside your door! 

Get away, right away to your Genesee County Parks.  Your brain will be glad you did.

 

Amy M. McMillan, Director

Genesee County Parks & Recreation Commission

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10

Planning and Support for a Successful Trail System
By Amy McMillan

                                                                                                                                                           

In a 2014 survey, Genesee County residents rated trails for walking, running, and biking as their top priority for improvements to Genesee County Parks.  

A great trail system takes a lot of planning and it takes a big, whopping load of money.  Lucky for us, the Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission has stepped up to the plate to develop a comprehensive non-motorized trail plan.  With a great plan in place, and a couple of successful new trail projects  under our belts  we’ve set our sights on securing grants to help get the rest of those trails built. 

At the end of this month, Genesee County Parks will submit a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant application to the Department of Natural Resources requesting $300,000 to match over $420,000 in local Transportation Assistance Program grants to build a 3.1 mile section of trail that begins at our office and runs near the river and through the woods of the Genesee Recreation Area to Irish Road, the entrance to Richfield County Park, the Irish Road Fishing Site and Goldenrod Disc Golf Course.  To the west, the trail will connect to the Bluegill Bike Path, which in turn connects to the Stepping Stone Falls Trail, the Bluebell Beach Trail, and the Flint River Trail.

Showing public support is one of the really important parts of any successful grant request, which is where you can be a big, huge help.  And, by public support, we mean letters.  Lots and lots of letters advocating for the approval of the grant request that we can include with our grant application.

We know that the hardest part of writing a letter of support is getting started. Just click here to view an example of a support letter and feel free use any or all of it to help get you started. Or, write your own personalized letter of support, and return the letter to me at the address below, drop it off at our office, fax it or email it to me by March 28, 2016 and I will include your support letter in our grant application.  WIth your support we can make this trail a reality!  

 

 

Amy M. McMillan, Director

Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission 

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17


By Amy McMillan

 

It’s hard to imagine that anyone with access to a television, radio, newspaper, or the internet has not heard about the Flint Water Crisis.  The presence of lead in the City’s drinking water supply has resulted in calls and emails from our visitors seeking more information regarding the source of drinking water in the Genesee County Parks, particularly those parks with a Flint mailing address, which includes many of our facilities in the Genesee Recreation Area.

No Genesee County Park or facility draws, or has drawn, its water from the City of Flint’s drinking water system. 

Many of our parks, such as Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad and Bluegill Boat Launch draw their water from on-site wells.  Other parks, such as Bluebell Beach, draw their water from Genesee County’s water system. 

We at the Genesee County Parks are appalled by the condition of the City of Flint’s drinking water.  We are outraged that the state and federal agencies charged with protecting our citizens and our drinking water failed so completely in their responsibilities.

We, especially those of us who live in the City of Flint, are also beyond grateful for the amazing support Flint’s residents have received from people and organizations here and around the country, most especially from the local philanthropic community, organized labor, the faith community, and endless numbers of volunteers who are giving so generously of their time and resources to deliver bottled water and test kits and to install fixtures and filters.

If you have questions about the source(s) of drinking water in the Genesee County Parks, please call us at 810-736-7100 or email us at ParksWebTeam@geneseecountyparks.org

Lead contamination in the City of Flint’s drinking water supply also has many questioning the quality and health of the Flint River, on which so many of us float, paddle, and fish.  Our long-time partners at the Flint River Watershed Coalition have monitored the Flint River for well over a decade.  For more information on Flint River testing in light of Flint’s drinking water crisis, please visit http://flintriver.org/blog/

Amy M. McMillan, Director                                   

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5

Team Winter? Genesee County Parks Has Got You Covered.
By Amy McMillan

February has an odd place in the psyche of those of us who live in the Snowbelt.  For people who look forward all fall to winter, February is usually the last month that they can truly count on to provide them with snow for skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, sledding, snow angel-making and ice for ice fishing; February is truly the shortest month of the year.  For people who look forward all winter to nothing but summer, February is a long slog of ice, snow, cold, and slush.  It doesn’t matter if it’s 28 or 29 days, February is the longest shortest month of the year.

Now, I am not a fan of cold weather in any shape or form, but I am a cup is half full kind of girl, so, in my mind, February is “The Gateway to Spring”. All I have to do is stick Winter out until March.  No matter what Punxsutawney Phil says.

No matter which camp you fall in to, February is a great month in the Genesee County Parks.  Snowmobiling, sledding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing?  We’ve got it. Ice fishing?  We’ve got that, too.  So done with winter?  Set For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum as the destination on your GPS and enjoy these great programs in the great indoors.

Whether you are on Team Winter or on Team Any Season That Is Not Winter, the Genesee County Parks has got you covered.  

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