Does the hustle and bustle of everyday life leave you wanting a place to relax? What if you could experience a natural oasis from urban and suburban life just steps away from the Motor City? The Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, Metroparks, is a special regional park district that spans nearly 25,000 acres in southeast Michigan and receives an average of 8 million visitors annually. It provides beautiful scenery, as well as a variety of activities throughout the year. RewardExpert spoke with David Kirbach, Huron-Clinton Metroparks Deputy Director, about the benefits of visiting, and why it makes financial sense to become a Friend of the Metroparks.
Why Come to the Metroparks?
The Metroparks are located in southeast Michigan, and encompass 13 parks in the counties of Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne. The parks run along the Huron and Clinton rivers and provide a greenbelt around the Detroit metropolitan area. “The Metroparks provide space for families, individuals, companies and groups to play, to learn and to grow,” said Kirbach.
The parks are open every single day of the year, so you can experience your own getaway place any day you wish. “The Metroparks offer 365-day access to open spaces, outdoor experiences, educational programs and special events, along with picnicking, fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, nature study, biking, golf, disc golf and winter sports,” explained Kirbach.
In addition, the Metroparks offer one of the largest educational programs in the country with its 10 full-service Interpretive Centers, which truly serve as “natural classrooms.” Each program supports the Michigan Science Standards curriculum in content, methodology and technology use. There are also volunteer opportunities that match individual talents with park needs.
“From trail clean ups to special events to invasive species removal or golf volunteers, there are opportunities for all skill levels,” noted Kirbach. The website keeps an up-to-date list of volunteering opportunities and any help is always appreciated in maintaining the beauty of the parks, of which 80 percent of the 25,000 acres is kept natural.
Supporting the Metroparks
To enter any of the Metroparks, a vehicle entry permit is required. It’s only $35 annually for regular admission, $21 annually for seniors or $10 daily. If you’re a local, the annual pass seems to be the best bet. But visitors from out of the area may want to opt for the daily pass. “With an annual vehicle permit, it is easy to experience the parks and make long-lasting memories,” described Kirbach.
You can also elect to become a member, or “Friend” of the Metroparks by donating. Even a small contribution can help make a big difference and will go towards keeping the landscape beautiful for generations to come. And each donation is fully tax-deductible. “The Huron-Clinton Metroparks Foundation provides additional funds for projects and initiatives that support recreational and educational opportunities, and work to steward our natural resources,” stated Kirbach.
Something for Everyone
So if you’re wondering where to go for the weekend to have a healthy body and mind, head on over to The Metroparks to see what you’re missing. If you’re visiting, the parks are a great way to discover the beauty of southeastern Michigan. Here are some features of The Huron-Clinton Metroparks by the numbers:
The Metroparks offer fun activities all throughout the year during each of the seasons, so there’s truly something for everyone. And with 20,480 parking spaces, there’s sure to be one waiting for you and your family. For more information, or to plan your visit, go to www.metroparks.com.