Oakland County Parks and Recreation Newsletter Fall 2022

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In this issue:
-Budget projects for 2023 focus on parks that look great, operate efficiently
-Annual Vehicle Permits go on sale Nov. 3
-New long-term, free Annual Vehicle Permits available to eligible individuals beginning Nov. 3
-Mark Fall Park Appreciation Days on your calendar
-Holly Oaks ORV Park opens additional acreage
-Enjoy a round of fall golf with new carts
-Schedule a field trip, group events with our naturalists
-Learn how a new mulcher helps communities with invasive species

Budget emphasizes improvement, maintenance projects
The Oakland County Parks and Recreation (OCPR) budget for fiscal year 2023 has been approved at $36,466,257. The 2023 budget was approved by the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission Sept. 7 and the Oakland County Board of Commissioners Sept. 29.
The budget places an emphasis on capital investments as well as maintenance and improvement projects across the 14-park system. Thanks to voters, increased millage funding approved in 2020 is making it possible to tackle a number of projects that will keep the parks system looking great and functioning efficiently for years to come. Slated projects include road paving and maintenance; roof repairs; and improvements to building exteriors, doors and windows. Various accessibility enhancements are also scheduled for completion.
Click here to read the full news release.

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2023 Annual Vehicle Permits go on sale Nov. 3
Oakland County Parks and Recreation Annual Vehicle Permits for 2023 will be available beginning Nov. 3. Guests can purchase 2023 permits, which are good for the rest of 2022 through Dec. 31, 2023.
Annual Vehicle Permits provide year-round fun with access to eight day use parks: Addison Oaks County Park north of Rochester; Groveland Oaks County Park in Holly; Highland Oaks County Park in Highland; Independence Oaks County Park in Clarkston; Lyon Oaks County Park and Lyon Oaks Dog Park in Lyon Township; Orion Oaks County Park and Orion Oaks Dog Park in Lake Orion; Red Oaks Dog Park in Madison Heights; and Rose Oaks County Park in Rose Township.
The cost for the Annual Vehicle Permit remains at $30 for residents and $48 regular rate. In addition to park entry, vehicle permit holders receive free parking at the Oakland County Fair on the grounds of Springfield Oaks County Park on two Oakland County Parks Days.
Permits may be obtained online, by mail and in person at many locations throughout Oakland County. For a list of locations, to purchase online or for the free permit qualifications, click here.

New long-term free Annual Vehicle Permits available Nov. 3
With voter approval of the 2020 Oakland County Parks and Recreation millage replacement and increase, a free Annual Vehicle Permit is available to eligible Oakland County residents who are seniors ages 62 and older as well as all active military personnel, veterans and individuals with permanent disabilities.
Eligible persons are welcome to apply for a free permit any time, but a new, long-term free Annual Vehicle Permit will be available beginning Nov. 3. This option will provide free access to trailsdog parksfishing docks, playgrounds and other amenities through Dec. 31, 2029, eliminating the need to renew each year.
Eligible individuals include:
Oakland County residents ages 62+
All active military
All veterans of the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and National Guard
Individuals of any age with a permanent physical, mental or sensory impairment disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Guardians or caregivers of a person with a permanent disability may request the free Annual Vehicle Permit on behalf of the individual

Free entry for Park Appreciation Days
To enhance access, Oakland County Parks and Recreation offers free daily entry on select days for visitors to enjoy trails, playgrounds, dog parksfishing docks and more.
Free daily entry is offered:
Nov. 11 – Veteran’s Day
Nov. 24 – Thanksgiving Day
Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve
Dec. 25 – Christmas Day
Dec. 31 – New Year’s Eve
Several locations feature new playgrounds installed in the summer. These include Addison Oaks County Park (Adams Lake Shelter) and Independence Oaks County Park(located at Moraine Knoll Shelter).
Find your park at OaklandCountyParks.com for Park Appreciation Days.

New OCPR Master Plan available for public review Oct. 10
The Oakland County Parks and Recreation (OCPR) 2023-2027 Parks and Recreation Master Plan will guide the Parks Commission and staff as they work to provide high-quality recreational opportunities to Oakland County residents. It is prepared following the guidelines provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and will be available for community and public review in October 2022. The current plan expires at the end of this year.
The OCPR Recreation Plan is built on input from the public, local communities, regional agencies and nonprofits. A key component of the plan is the Oakland County Recreational Needs Assessment, a randomized survey of Oakland County residents undertaken every five years. The survey seeks to gather information about the types of parks, facilities and programs residents utilize and need, and their satisfaction with the current park system, amenities and programming. The results of the survey will guide the Parks Commission in determining how to best invest in new and existing recreational opportunities and how to most effectively collaborate with local municipalities to deliver park and recreation services to their residents.
We invite public and community input on the draft OCPR Recreation Plan. The draft plan and a survey will be available online after Oct. 10 and hard copies will be available for review in several Oakland County locations. This input will be incorporated into the final plan, which will be submitted for approval at the end of 2022. For more information and updates as the process unfolds, as well as access to a draft of the new OCPR Recreation Plan when it becomes available, please visit the OCPR Planning page.
holly oaks
Additional acreage creates muddy experiences for users
The terrain at Holly Oaks ORV Park continues to evolve as the weather, riders and soil create unique experiences each time guests visit. As mining operations wrap up on the site, additional acreage opened up, including 60 acres this summer, the “North 60.”
“The new North 60 has been well received by park guests and corporate rentals,” Holly Oaks ORV Park Supervisor Jamie Weasel said. “It is more of a ‘scramble area’ as opposed to fully developed tracks and trails. Guests are having fun creating their own ‘lines’ and ‘climbs,’ which is what we had in mind.”
The part of the park also has a feature the front park does not – mud. 
“Everyone is having fun in the mud,” he added,” with some vehicles leaving the park that are entirely covered in it!”
Guests may also notice a few other ongoing projects happening at the park, such as development of an emergency exit on Holdridge Road and improvements to the road entrance off of CMI Drive for deliveries of fill dirt, wood chips and organic material. Large stones from the North 60 section are being collected to create a new climb attraction in the area as well.
Holly Oaks ORV Park is open year round. From October through November, the park is open on Saturdays and Sundays. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for riding hours, park rulesonline tickets and more.

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Make golf courses a favorite fall destination
Each of Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s five golf courses are unique, but even more so in the fall, when autumn’s colors paint a spectacular canvas at Glen OaksLyon OaksRed OaksSpringfield Oaks and White Lake Oaks golf courses.
“Springfield Oaks is one of the most scenic courses,” Chief Park Operations and Maintenance – South District Tom Hughes said. “The elevation changes, cool mornings and low fog all provide that Up North feel that is unlike most other courses in southeast Michigan.”
The cooler fall air also provides an ideal golfing environment with fewer crowds and bugs. The courses, which experienced one of their busiest summers to date, will be open through at least Nov. 1.
“Weather conditions and staffing levels may allow for a couple courses to remain open past that date but won’t know until mid-October,” he said.
Golfers may also notice that the entire golf cart fleet is in the process of being replaced with the newest Club Car fleet. Click here to learn more.

nature centers
Let nature be your classroom
September is the traditional start to the school year, but as students head back to the classroom, there is no need for their learning to be limited within four walls. Nature is a natural teacher and Oakland County Parks and Recreation naturalists have developed programs to facilitate discovery for students of all ages, homeschoolers, scout groups, youth organizations, families and others.
Options include in-person presentations at Wint Nature Center in Clarkston and Red Oaks Nature Center in Madison Heights and traditional scout badge day programs where groups can meet requirements for specific badges. Scout Badge Day programs are offered for Daisies, Brownies, Junior Girl Scouts, Lions, Tigers, Wolves, Bears and Webelos. Homeschool programs that explore a variety of science and nature-based topics are available each month for students ages 6-13.
Let the learning come to you with traveling outreach programs such as nature presentations and nature tables. StarLab, an inflatable planetarium, is offered as a program at the nature centers or as an outreach experience.
Virtual take and learn field trips are field trips in a box, with 45-60 minutes of live instruction via Zoom with a naturalist from Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s Nature Education Team. Specially designed to meet Next Generation Science Standards, staff will drop off a box of sanitized lesson supplies to the school prior to online instruction and collect the reusable items in the kit afterwards.
Virtual Take-and-Make Craft Programs with live or recorded instruction are also a great way to learn and try something different in the comfort and safety of your own home.
“Families can enjoy fun fall programs. From soapstone carving and trail hikes led by our naturalists to learning about the Art of Nature and the Superheroes of the Woods, we have a lot of exciting programs lined up for everyone this fall,” Brandy Sotke-Boyd, Chief of Recreation Programs and Services, said.
More information, including the Fall Nature Education Schedule, can be found at OaklandCountyParks.com.

OCPR invests in forestry mulcher to assist local communities
To help Oakland County cities, villages and townships (CVTs) better manage woody invasive species in their communities, Oakland County Parks and Recreation (OCPR) has purchased a forestry mulcher capable of mowing larger diameter trees and shrubs. The equipment, well-suited for first-time mowing to open the landscape, leaves only a fine mulch behind, which quickly decomposes. Many natural areas are old agricultural fields susceptible to population by invasive species.
“Winter mowing removes most above ground woody material and can be an important component of integrated pest management plans,” OCPR Chief of Sustainability and Natural Resources Sarah Cook-Maylen said.
Mowed areas will still require follow-up work, such as chemical treatment or prescribed burns, for long-term control of woody invasives. Periodic re-mowing and/or prescribed burning for the first few years will be necessary to prevent regrowth. Ideal areas for mowing are an acre or more, covered with shrubs and located in higher, dryer areas with minimal topography. It is important to avoid areas containing hibernating Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes, a federally threatened species.
OCPR will provide trained staff to run the mulcher free of charge. Partnering CVTs will be responsible for communicating with neighbors and the general public about the work, as well as designating a contact person available during mowing hours to answer questions as needed. They will also be expected to commit to appropriate follow-up treatment. CVTs interested in utilizing the forestry mulcher can email ParksNR@oakgov.com to provide a contact person and a brief description of the project, including the goal or desired outcome. Availability is subject to change based on submitted requests and will be limited to one property per CVT and one week of work on-site.