Flurries of Fun All Winter Long with Oakland County Parks and Recreation

family sledding

Oakland County Parks and Recreation (OCPR) provides opportunities for you to stay active and enjoy nature all year – so don’t let the cold weather keep you indoors this winter! From cross-country skiing to fat tire biking, and birdwatching to participating in a hands-on program at one of the nature centers, there is always a reason to get outside and enjoy the crisp air, beautiful scenery, and fresh snow.

For a list of winter recreation opportunities by park, click here.

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Knocking on Winter’s Door

snow-covered trees in the woods


December 21st brought us the Winter Solstice, the first day of winter. Perhaps you heard winter knocking at your door? That moment in time officially arrived at 4:48 p.m. EST. It was the shortest day of the year with only 8 hours and 46 minutes of daylight. Hours of daylight are now slowly increasing as we creep towards the dawn of spring; just three months away but still well-hidden over the horizon. The dawn of winter, however, is an exciting time. It reminds me to get my cross country skis out of hibernation to be ready for winter adventure in our parks and to plan northern adventures.

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Key Tips for Surviving Inflation

As the Consumer Price Index rises, the cost of goods and services continues to skyrocket along with credit card interest rates, and our purchasing power declines. Here are a few tips from the Oakland County Treasurer’s Office that will help reduce the financial strain and build toward your future.

Review and modify your spending habits

It’s important to assess your expenses and embrace a more cautious spending approach.

Establish clear spending priorities and save money

Set priorities to cover your essential needs and make regular deposits into your savings account.

Compare prices for the best deal

Shop around before buying and maximize your loyalty and reward programs.

Clip coupons regularly

Use paper, digital, and mobile coupons on sale items for the best savings.

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Oakland County Parks and Recreation Seeks Input on New 5-Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan

photo of wetlands at Independence Oaks North

We want your feedback! The new Oakland County Parks and Recreation (OCPR) 5-Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan is available online and OCPR is encouraging Oakland County residents to continue to share their feedback. Their plan will help build a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient future for OCPR by updating the strategic plan vision and mission by adding four core values to the 2023-2027 Recreation Plan.

The plan will guide OCPR staff and the Parks Commission in their efforts to provide high-quality recreational opportunities to Oakland County residents over the next five years. It follows the Guidelines for the Development of Community Park, Recreation, Open Space and Greenway Plans provided by the Grants Division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and will replace the previous 5-year plan, which expires on December 31, 2022.

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Conifers, Evergreens, and Christmas Trees

black bear in tree


I will assume you started reading today’s Wilder Side of Oakland County because of the black bear in the tree. I’ll confess: I used that photo to draw attention to today’s blog. However, I captured that image about 10 years ago in northern Ontario when a black bear yearling took shelter in the lofty branches of a spruce tree, one of many types of conifer trees in North America. It was retreating from humans, myself included, and we wisely went our separate ways.

The season of the annual Christmas tree hunt has arrived. But just what is a “Christmas tree?” The last few weeks had questions coming my way inquiring about “wild” Christmas trees of Oakland County. One question had an obvious error that had me laughing. The writer meant to inquire about different kinds of conifers that grow in Oakland County that would make good Christmas trees. A spell check error had him asking about good carnivorous trees for his home. Conifer trees do however provide excellent ambush habit for carnivorous birds such as Cooper’s hawks that wait for prey to fly by.

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