Gallagher Creek Park – A First Look

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

A skittish doe and her tiny fawn, a pair of killdeer, yellow-throated warblers, over a dozen robins, various vireos I could not identify, a northern oriole, a “chilly-appearing’” leopard frog, territory proclaiming red-winged blackbirds, a whole lot of crayfish and at least two human families could not wait for the upcoming grand opening of 15-acre Gallagher Creek Park next Thursday afternoon. Neither could I. And so last Saturday morning, under a clear blue sky that rapidly turned gray, I set out to explore this small creek-side, wetland embracing park that is located on the north side of Silverbell Road immediately east of Adams Road within one of the more densely populated areas of Oakland Township. Continue reading

Secrets of Cranberry Lake Park

Cranberry Lake Park

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

On sultry summer days the beautiful wooded swamps and protected wetlands of Cranberry Lake Park occasionally transform into short term havens for blood-thirsty mosquitoes and squadrons of dive-bombing deer flies. That is nature’s way all across the Wilder Side of Oakland County. I still remember a hot and humid late summer day when I meandered into that Oakland Township Park on a hunt for a few blackberries. I raced back to my vehicle a few minutes later with my arms flailing after becoming an involuntarily blood donor for what felt like millions of mosquitoes.

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Bear Creek Nature Park: Hike, Explore, Play, Refresh

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into the trees. The wind will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” Those words of John Muir fit my exploration of Bear Creek Nature Park last Friday afternoon. The temperature hovered just above the single digits, strong winds rustled dry oak leaves, and long-missing brilliant sunshine made snow sparkle.

Bear Creek is a publicly accessible 107-acre park that has been managed by the Parks and Recreation Commission of the Charter Township of Oakland since 1977. Parking permits are not required. There are no bears at Bear Creek, and Bear Creek is not a wilderness by any means, but the landscape has a rich history of farming and cattle grazing going back to European settlement in 1827. Continue reading