The first days of January signal a New Year of adventures along the trails, and in the parks and wildlands of Oakland County. Snowy Owls, the denizens of the Arctic tundra irrupt into Michigan most winters confirming the season of snow has arrived – even when it’s delayed. Snowy Owls have already been sighted not far from our county. They perch motionlessly on fence posts and telephone poles near farm fields, spacious meadows and frozen lakeshores to wait for meaty entrées, perhaps mice and meadow voles, or a duck that did not wing south. January is the month that early rising hikers and trail runners find their favorite trails of solitude and solace, crisscrossed with tracks of our apex predator, the eastern coyote. It’s the season I look forward to sharing sunrises on a wooded, often snowy bluff that overlooks Buhl Lake, a four season gem of Addison Oaks County Park.
As the leaves transition to shades of red, orange, and yellow, and the air gains a crisp autumn edge, there is no better time to venture along one of Oakland County’s many scenic trails. To find the best place to take a walk in nature, check out our list by clicking on the button below:
You can also check out the Oakland County Trail Viewer, an interactive map developed by Oakland County’s award-winning GIS team. Each trail is marked using brown lines, while green icons represent parks. When a trail is selected, the map allows you to reference both its length and elevation. When users click on a park icon, its name, size, website, and other helpful information will appear.
From the paved paths at Groveland Oaks in Holly to the expansive trails at Waterford Oaks, you are sure to find the perfect nature trail for you using our list and interactive map.
Oakland County equestrian enthusiasts of all abilities, from beginners to professionals, can find a number of local resources to support their love of horses. Oakland County is just the place with more than 40 locations for boarding, training, lessons, equine therapy, or group outings. Several stables and ranches are located in and around the county; see the list below to learn more.
This interactive map, created by Oakland County’s award-winning GIS team, also provides locations such as equestrian trails, feed and supply stores, saddlery locations, and veterinary care. Click on the map below to find a location near you, or discover a new equestrian destination to visit.
“My early morning hike of solitude on a sultry summer day at Independence Oaks County Park – North was a 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 tree tops 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.” I wrote those words last August as an introduction to a “Wilder Side” blog about Independence Oaks County Park – North; a 188-acre addition to the main section of 1,285-acre Independence Oaks County Park, the largest of the 13 parks managed by Oakland County Parks. Independence Oaks – North is the only Southeast Michigan park with a catch and release special designation by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The park also includes natural features that helped the site be classified by the Michigan Natural Features Inventory as a Priority One Conservation Area.
Beautiful and Rare, Springfield Township discusses an endangered butterfly, pictured above by CMU Research Assistant Michael Belitz.
“Springfield Township’s Shiawassee Basin Preserve, known for protecting one of the highest quality prairie fen wetlands in Michigan, is also one of the last places on earth to sustain a critically endangered butterfly known as the Poweshiek Skipperling. The Poweshiek Skipperling is a small (<1.25” wingspan) butterfly that depends on high quality prairie habitats like our fen for its survival. Until recently, the Poweshiek was one of the most common prairie butterflies in North America, being found in many states and provinces from the Great Plains region to the Midwest, but around 2005 the population began a mysterious decline in abundance. Today, there are less than five hundred individuals occurring in only a handful of locations across their former range.”