See the Best of Fall on an Oakland County Trail

As the leaves transition from shades of green to amber and crimson, and the air takes on the crisp edge of autumn, there is no better time to venture along one of Oakland County’s many scenic trails.

Wilder Side | Walk Slowly, Stop Often, and Listen

Navigate your next trail adventure with the help of the Oakland County Trail Viewer: an interactive map developed by Oakland County’s award-winning GIS team. Each trail is marked by 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 green park icon, its name, size, website, and other helpful information appear.

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October Splendor, Adventure, Awareness and Safety

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The splendor of October swept into Oakland County on schedule with traces of frost on the first day of the month. Hours of daylight are shortening, but opportunities for trailside adventure and colorful kayaking adventures are increasing. It’s a month of cider-making, corn mazes and pumpkin hunting. October is the time to watch geese high overhead, listen to trumpeting of Sandhill Cranes, and celebrate Eastern Bluebirds beneath a clear blue sky. Set out an autumn bird bath, and it just may lure these beautiful birds, and a House Finch or two, as quickly as late season wildflowers lure honey bees. The days of October are in a word, glorious for all that love nature’s way and the hundreds of miles of trails that enrich our county and increase accessibility to our woodlands, wildlands and parks. Continue reading

A SWIFT NIGHT OUT: Flying Cigars over Farmington

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Chimney Swifts (Chaetura pelagica) are masters of the sky. These enigmatic smudge-gray colored aerial artists are sometimes referred to as “Flying Cigars” because of their appearance in flight. They are almost always airborne, unless sleeping. Unlike most bird species, you will never see a Chimney Swift perched on a branch, or standing on the ground. Their evolutionary path led to sleek wings and fantastic flight skills, but also left them the inability to perch on a branch or even stand like a song bird on the ground. When a Chimney Swift needs to descend from the sky it uses its grappling hook-like toes to cling to the vertical interiors of hollow trees or interior of chimneys. Thus the name Chimney Swift, a bird that was once known as the American Swift.

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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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An Early Morning Lake Sixteen Environmental Adventure

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

150 Tennis Balls, 91-Acres of Water, 18 Volunteers, and the Ghost of Mastodons: An Early Morning Lake Sixteen Environmental Adventure

Oakland County would be a lesser place if it was not for our beautiful lakes, wetlands, rivers and streams. With those thoughts in mind, I loaded my kayak onto the roof of my jeep on the last Wednesday of August for a bit of participatory, investigative reporting on Lake Sixteen.

The early morning fog lifted just as I pulled into the small parking area near a fishing pier and a non-motorized boat launch site on Lake Sixteen, a 91-acre lake on the east side of Orion Oaks County Park. Lake Sixteen is one of the hundreds, or some say more than a thousand local lakes that sparkle in the early morning light of fading summer. Here’s what Oakland County’s Prosper Magazine wrote last October about the numerous lakes that enrich our lives, and provide diverse habitat for hundreds of species of wildlife and great outdoor recreation for residents of our county.

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