Wayne County Parks Are Waiting for You
April 21, 2022
Spring has arrived and after two years of sheltering at home, almost everyone is ready to get out and participate in outdoor activities. The 43 communities of Wayne County are served by 5,600 acres of parkland which includes playgrounds, athletic facilities, hiking and biking trails, a golf course, a marina, and the Wayne County Family Aquatic Center. Read on for more details on all that Wayne County Parks have to offer as you make plans for getting outdoors this season.
Most familiar to many residents is Hines Parkway, a 2,300 acre park which runs 17 miles in length from Northville and eastward through Livonia, Westland and Dearborn. The area also serves a floodplain of the Middle Rouge River as it meanders its way alongside Hines Drive. Prior to European settlement, the Rouge River was a travel way for both Native Americans and fur trappers. Hines Drive as we know it today was built in 1949 on land which was donated by Henry Ford.
Along Hines Parkway there are more than 30 recreations areas which allow for softball, soccer, picnicking, and four lakes provide access to kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. The park is a haven for joggers and bicyclists and even hikers who take advantage of the many miles of nature trails. Saturday in the Park has returned to Hines Park. Each Saturday from May 7 to September 24, 2022, Hines Drive will be closed to automobile traffic from Ann Arbor Trail to Outer Drive. Participants can run, walk, or bicycle through the park without the intrusion of traffic from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Parking will be available at the Nankin Mills Shelter located at 33275 Hines Drive in Westland.
Hines Parkway is also home to the Wayne County Dog Park. The dog park is located within the Hawthorn Ridge Recreation Area, west of Merriman Road. All dogs must be licensed and up to date on vaccinations. Permits to access the Dog Park can be obtained at Nankin Mills front office, located at 33175 Ann Arbor
Since 2011, Hines Drive has been host to Cruisin' Hines, one of many area classic car shows and cruises. This year the event will be held on August 28. Find out more at http://www.cruisinhines.com.
The Lower Rouge Parkway is a 783 acre urban park which stretches 12 miles through Canton Township, Wayne, Westland, Inkster, Dearborn, and Dearborn Heights. Running parallel to Michigan Avenue, the parkway contains the Lower Rouge Greenway, a multi-modal pedestrian trail that reaches from Canton east to Dearborn and includes trailways in Inkster's Colonial Park and Inkster Park. The Lower Rouge
Water Trail runs within the parkway as well, offering 25 miles of canoe or kayaking adventure from Canton Township all the way to the Detroit River. There are plenty of rest stops along the way.
Elizabeth Park in Trenton was donated as the state's first county park in 1919 by the family of Elizabeth Slocum, heir of an early businessman and landowner. The 162 acre park is located along the Detroit River and features a riverwalk, picnic pavilions, athletic fields, and a marina. Trails allow visitors to traverse a portion of the Iron Belle Trail either by bicycle or foot. The Iron Belle Trail is the largest state trail in the nation, covering 1,273 miles through Michigan's Lower and Upper Peninsulas.
Crosswinds Marsh Wetland Interpretive Preserve covers 1,056 acres in Sumpter Township. The park includes natural and man-made wetlands, allowing visitors to observe a variety of environments including forested wetland, open water habitats, and wildflower meadows. Wildlife is abundant here and viewers often can observe bald eagles and beavers at work. The park features hiking trails, horseback riding, picnic areas, fishing, and canoeing.
The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Gateway is a 44 acre parcel located within the 6,000 acres of the wildlife refuge itself, which is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Refuge Gateway is an ideal spot for birdwatching and visitors can take advantage of all the refuge has to offer including a visitor's center, fishing pier, and miles of hiking trails. The refuge lies just south of Elizabeth Park along the Detroit River.
Wayne County Parks have a lot to offer. They are an example of preservation and careful management of natural areas and their wild inhabitants. To find a park go to http://www.waynecounty.com and scroll down the main page to click on Discover Wayne County Parks.