A First Look at Holly Oaks ORV Park

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) was tasked many years ago with developing an opportunity for off-road vehicle recreation in southeast Michigan, a venture that would also reduce illegal and dangerous riding on utility corridors and railway beds, as well as in parks and on private lands. Oakland County had depleted sand and gravel mines that were unlikely to ever be redeveloped for residential or commercial use because of noise from I-75 and challenging topography. It was a marriage that was meant to be and after years of labor pains, the result will soon emerge as Holly Oaks ORV Park, the first ORV Park in Oakland County.  It will be the second state park in Michigan to be jointly managed by the state and a county parks agency. Continue reading

Seven Trails for May

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” That often quoted sentence from John Muir takes on a special meaning for me in May, for May is the month that I am most often asked, “Where should I hike?” There is no easy answer, but May is the perfect season to enter the world of hiking for pleasure, and if the word “hiking” sounds too rigorous, just call it “meandering.” The results will be the same; for hiking is fun, healthful and there are bonuses in May: The beauty of ephemeral woodland wildflowers, the delightful songs of birds, and the choruses of frogs and trilling of toads will be your trail companions. Meander along slowly on your new adventure, stop often, look and listen and you will find more than you seek.

Today I share snippets of seven trails that are perfect for Oakland County trail meanderers, trails where the magic and music of nature’s way in May unfolds. Continue reading

Rose Oaks – A Wonder in Winter

An interpretive sign next to a large boardwalk over wetland that is covered by snow.

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Rose Oaks County Park is a nature-embracing and easily accessible winter wonder that presents wide-open vistas, glacially sculpted wooded hills and hidden secrets of nature exposed by tracks and trails in the snow. Six hundred forty acre “Rose” is one of my favorite parks managed by Oakland County Parks and Recreation. I look at her wildness as an early morning wintry haven of solitude enhanced by wind whistling through groves of evergreens, the chatter of chickadees, gurgling waters of icy streams, the near magical mesmerizing booming of lake ice expanding and contracting, and in a few more weeks, the magnificent rattling bugle calls of Sandhill Cranes. The sounds of nature in winter make every trek a delight for those that walk slowly, stop often and listen. The song of coyotes in the moments before sunrise just might be your greeting, and as the sun climbs higher, the distinctive call of the Pileated Woodpecker signals the woods are awakening. Continue reading

Oakland County Skiing and Snowboarding at Mt. Holly

Three skiers ride down Mt. Holly in a dark Michigan night lit up by the lights of the resort.

Mt. Holly is one of three locations to ski and snowboard in Oakland County. The resort hosts 20 trail runs, seven chairlifts, four rope tows, two SunKid Wonder Carpets, and Southeastern Michigan’s only high-speed detachable chairlift. Skiers and snowboarders of all levels can discover fun at Mt. Holly, whether you’re searching for easier trail runs to try, terrain parks to style on, or expert level slopes to race your friends. Visit “where the north begins” and stay active during this chilly time of year.

Located in Groveland Township, Mt. Holly is open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday. Watch this quick preview of the resort before you head out:

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Ski and Snowboard in Oakland County!

A snowboarder cuts in front of the camera

Winter weather is here to stay and that means it’s a great time to have some fun at the ski and snowboard resorts in Oakland County. With all three being just a short drive away, you can choose from Alpine Valley in White Lake Township, Mt. Holly in Groveland Township, and Pine Knob in Clarkston. The resorts offer student, child and senior discounts, school ski-clubs, rentals, lessons, and terrain parks. If you’re just starting out on the slopes, have no fear! All three offer beginner hills with tow ropes and magic/wonder carpets to make things easy for you.

Check out our video and see all of the winter fun there is to be had on the slopes in Oakland County!

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