A Park on a River, Placemaking, and Pizza

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

One hundred and ninety-six years have passed by since Aaron Webster became the first permanent European settler along the banks of the Clinton River in what is now the City of Auburn Hills. He died of typhoid fever just two years later in the summer of 1823, but before his death he constructed a dam on the river that captured the power of the water’s flow to operate a saw mill.  The timber from his saw mill was then was used to build a grist mill to grind grain. That’s how Auburn Hills began.

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Palate Pleasing Secrets Of Staghorn Sumac

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

It was late summer in the rolling hills of Western New York State when I came upon the sun-soaked field of staghorn sumac that accelerated my path of nature education after a near stumble. Back then I was a long-haired, bearded 20-year-old. I was happy to be the nature specialist for Camp Lakeland during my summer break from college, but I was even more excited to share “nature’s lemonade” with kids on their hikes. My hair is a lot shorter now, but my foraging enthusiasm remains. This little flashback to Camp Lakeland is necessary to set the stage for this tale from the wilder side, for in the world of nature all things are connected. Continue reading

Independence North: The Northern Jewel Of Independence Oaks County Park

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

My early morning hike of solitude on a sultry summer day at Independence Oaks County Park – North was a near magical experience. Wispy cirrus clouds added definition to the clear blue sky. Spider webs sparkled with diamonds of dew. Sandhill cranes trumpeted from a wet meadow. An American Goldfinch and an Eastern Kingbird perched in treetops to bask in sunlight, as did a Red-tailed Hawk high up on a transmission line tower. The music of crickets and the rustle of aspen leaves in the morning’s gentle breeze softened the rumble of traffic on nearby Sashabaw Road. That all happened in the first ten minutes last Sunday morning. The next ten minutes were well-spent grazing on juicy blackberries, suffering some significant scratches in the process. A sudden faint buzzing sound near the base of the shrubs made me wonder if there was a hidden cicada down low. Or perhaps, just perhaps, an Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake thought I was too close. The blackberry thicket would be a good place for a rattler to ambush a mouse. So I hiked on, that mystery unsolved. Continue reading

Paddling Waterford: A Clinton River Adventure

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

“Southeast Michigan boasts a phenomenal bounty of outdoor recreation and exploration opportunities, so come discover, explore, and protect the Nature Near You!” 
-Six Rivers Land Conservancy Adventure League.

The mission of the Six Rivers Land Conservancy is to “Conserve, sustain, and connect natural areas, lands and waters that make the place we live special.” Combine those two sentences and then it’s time get ready for sultry summer days and crisp fall adventures on the wilder side of Oakland County.

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Rose Oaks County Park: A Wildland Gem of Oakland County

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY


“From her somber, sullenness on a misty morning in autumn, to the excitement and bustle of life on a warm summer day, there is always something interesting to see at Rose Oaks.” Those words of Kegan Schildberg, the Natural Areas Stewardship Lead for Oakland County Parks, paints the near perfect picture of a park that was designed by retreating glaciers some 11,000 years ago and now offers peaceful and passive recreation on the Wilder Side of Oakland County.

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