Earth Day Weekend in “The Boonies”

Boonies Hike

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

On Earth Day weekend almost 300 Boy Scouts gathered for two nights of camping near Big Fish Lake in the Ortonville State Recreation Area for the 10th annual Boonies Hike. None of the young participants or many of the leaders were alive for that first Earth Day, held on April 22nd, 1970. It was an era when Americans were slowly becoming aware of environmental concerns and the need to take action. It was a time when rivers were so thick with oils that some burned. Massive V8 engines swallowed enormous amounts of leaded gasoline. Factories spewed rivers of chemicals and sludge without fear of much in the way of environmental or legal consequences. Scouting was a welcoming gateway to a changing outdoor world.

The need for environmental awareness accelerates again today as the world of scouting continues to move forward. This wilder side tale really starts with Boy Scout Troop 139 based in Ortonville. Scoutmaster Jeff Hafnt explained to his troop that he always liked hiking and exploring the 5,430 acres of Ortonville State Recreation Area. He explained this troop is the most northerly located troop of the Pontiac-Manito District of the Great Lakes Field Service Council. Ten years have passed since Hafnt invited more southerly located troops to join them “in the boonies” for a big day hike and the title stuck. The annual hiking event soon turned into a weekend long nature-embracing camping event. Michigan Department of Natural Resources gave the nod to allow the scouts to tent at Big Fish Lake. I was invited to hike with them for their grand 10th anniversary hike.

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Plan your Spring, Summer, and Fall Camping Adventures!

It’s time to plan your next camping adventure in Oakland County! With two wonderful campgrounds run by Oakland County Parks and Recreation, you won’t have to go far. Addison Oaks in Leonard and Groveland Oaks in Holly offer individual, family, or group camping sites. Both parks offer cabins, yurts, modern, and group sites as well. Your camping adventure awaits – call 248-858-1400 and make your reservation today!

  • Addison Oaks 2018 Camping Season: Friday, April 27th – Wednesday, October 24th
  • Groveland Oaks 2018 Camping Season: Friday, April 27th – Sunday, October 7th

Check out our video to see all of the fun that’s in store!

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Pitch a Tent, Light the Bonfire

Spring is here, so it’s time to bring out your camping gear!

Oakland County’s natural splendor is on full display at the 16 campsites, 62 swimming spots, and 100 fishing holes. From Ortonville State Recreation Area down to Haas Lake Park RV Campground, the perfect wilderness getaway is always close at hand.

To find a campground or campsite near you use our interactive map or view a complete list of locations here.

camp screen2

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