Hiking Opportunities near Detroit, Michigan.

September 14, 2009


Sharon welcomed the listeners and talked about the importance of water in life and life in water. She said that it is imperative for everyone to realize the importance of water, to drink plenty of water and to carry water with them if they are unsure of a water source. Dehydration, or lack of water, is out of control in our world and causes or contributes to ailments from allergies to obesity.

Guest: Art Bernstein, MS

Art Bernstein, MS (Gold Hill, OR), writer and naturalist. "Hiking Close to Home - Fabulous Trails near Detroit, Michigan."

Sharon and Art had discussed the importance of getting outdoors and enjoying nature no matter where you live - especially as a way to save money by staying close to home. With this show, Art begins a series on hiking opportunities around big cities, starting with Detroit, Michigan, where he grew up.

Detroit may seem like a big, flat Midwestern city, and in fact, it is located in a flat basin that used to be the bottom of Lake Erie. However, it is surrounded on three sides by hills formed by Ice Age continental glaciers and those hills contain thousands of lakes, all within 30 or 40 miles of Detroit. The hills also contain 14 parks of the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, over 20 state parks and 200 miles of hiking trail in the "Rail to Trails" program.

Art noted several parks in particular. River Rouge and Belle Isle Parks, within the Detroit city limits, are both gems. Bell Isle is located downtown, on an island in the Detroit River, and the park was designed by Fredrick Olmstead, who also designed New York's Central Park.

Also of note are Bald Mountain State Park, which contains 5,000 acres and eight miles of hiking trail on the highest and most rugged terrain in southeast Michigan. It also contains lakes, beaches, boat rentals and a nature center, and its trail ties into the Paint Creek National Recreation Trail, the best known unit of the Detroit area "Rails to Trails" system.

Art also cited Proud Lake State Park, Stony Creek Metro-Park and Kensington Metro-Park as particularly large, beautiful and having excellent hiking opportunities. He noted that when he first started going to Kensington Park, in about 1953, it has just opened and had no development except for canvas bathhouses. Later on, its nature center and eight miles of hiking trails became very important to his professional life. Kensington also has two beaches, a snack bar, a water slide, a boat rental, secluded picnic sites (some located on islands), a golf course and a model farm.

Categories: Ecology and the Environment; outdoor recreation; 2009