Category Archives: Other News

Study says Huron-Clinton Metroparks generates more than $90 million in visitor spending annually

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Redbud trees in full bloom at Lower Huron Metropark in this May 14, 2020 photo. A recent study shows that the Metroparks system plays a critical role in generating significant economic, health and environmental benefits and enhancing quality of life before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Scott Bolthouse — The Huron Hub)


Posted by Scott Bolthouse
The Huron Hub
Oct. 14, 2020

The 13 parks in the Huron-Clinton Metroparks system in Southeast Michigan generate more than $90 million in direct visitor spending each year, a new study by the Trust for Public Land (TPL) says.

In addition, millions more in other economic, environmental and health benefits are felt each year across the five counties and hundreds of communities the parks system serves.

The TPL study is the first study the organization has completed in Michigan.

TPL emphasized the value that the public lands and outdoor recreation activities hold during times like the coronavirus pandemic that crippled the state in Spring and early summer.

“We’ve seen people flock to outdoor spaces during the pandemic and we can all agree the substantial benefit that has provided just this year alone. This report helped us understand and quantify just how much these amenities, and access to them, benefit and matter to our communities and residents, now more than ever. The parks have incredible power to help improve our health and wellbeing and safely connect us with nature and each other, as well as bolster our local and regional economies,” said Amy McMillan, Director of the Metroparks, which commissioned the study. “We’re committed to doing everything we can to protect, preserve and enhance this regional treasure.”

TPL researchers and economists found that the Metroparks provides seven categories of major economic benefit throughout Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties. All were calculated using the most recent data and conservative methods available to ensure the most reliable report. These categories are:

  • Generating substantial recreational value
  • Enhancing property values
  • Boosting economic development
  • Providing healthcare cost savings
  • Attracting and retaining visitors/tourists and talent
  • Reducing stormwater management costs
  • Improving air quality

According to Jennifer Plowden, a senior conservation economist at The Trust for Public Land and the report’s lead author: “Our research unequivocally shows that the Huron-Clinton Metroparks are strong, smart investments, which provide significant returns to local residents, communities and businesses throughout the region. We hope that this demonstration of the enormous value of parks will encourage health advocates, business leaders and policy makers to continue to support their parks.”

Plowden pointed to the following key economic impact findings of the Metroparks study:

  • $92.4 million. The amount of annual direct spending by visitors to Metroparks in local communities and the tourism economy. Beyond being home to the parks, trails, facilities and programming that attracts visitors, the system hosts a variety of events, including fireworks shows, national fishing tournaments, marathons, farm festivals, outdoor concerts, and more.
  • $68 million. The overall amount nearby residential property values are raised, providing value to local homeowners.
  • $62.3 million. The Metroparks value of recreation ($32 million) and health benefits ($30.3 million) to residents annually. Popular activities include picnicking, visiting with family and friends, visiting playgrounds and beaches, walking, hiking, biking, paddling, taking photos, and observing wildlife.
  • $1,250. The health care savings each year of an average adult by being physically active in the park system. Those savings are doubled for those 65 and older.
  • $30.3 million. The amount of savings to the community due to Metroparks reducing storm water and contaminated runoff.
  • $2.25 million. The amount air pollution costs are lowered annually due to trees and vegetation in Metroparks.
  • $678 million. The total sales generated by 272 sporting goods stores in the region. This spending on recreation equipment, which is supported by but not exclusive to Metroparks, helps provide industry specific jobs (3,180 employees) and propel economic impact and development.

The Trust for Public Land has measured the economic benefits of parks and trails across the country, from Los Angeles, California and Colorado Springs, Colorado to the Metroparks Toledo, Ohio most recently.

The report as well as an infographic summary can be downloaded at http://www.tpl.org/economic-benefits-hcma or http://www.metroparks.com/EconomicBenefits.


Frost likely Friday, Saturday morning — you better pick what’s left in your garden ASAP

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Huron Hub file photo


Posted by The Huron Hub 
Oct. 1, 2020

If you grew a garden this year, you better pick whatever is left as soon as possible.

Forecasters are calling for growing season-ending frost to occur as early as Friday morning, as well as Saturday morning.

“The perfect set-up for frost is coming, possibly tonight, and especially Friday night and Saturday morning,” said Mark Torregrossa, MLive.com chief meteorologist.

Check out Torregrossa’s full article here

The coldest temperatures will actually be near sunrise Friday morning and near sunrise Saturday morning.

forecast


 

Fall bird migration fills the skies at your Metroparks

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(Photo by Scott Bolthouse–The Huron Hub)


Posted Sept. 29, 2020

The Huron Hub

At the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, September is known as Bird Migration Month and at Lake Erie Metropark it is known as Raptor Month. As the summer winds down and fall takes over animals start preparing for the winter and birds start their migration.

Less than half the bird species in the United States are year-round residents of their home range. For animals to survive the winter migration is key. It is a common assumption that migration is solely due to the weather, but there are several factors that determine migration. Some animals migrate to breed, some to find more favorable living conditions, but most migrate to find food.

Some species are migrating short distances, from county to county or from higher elevation to lower elevation, such as the Red-winged Blackbird. Some species migrate moderate distances, from state to state, such as the Eastern Bluebird. But the truly impressive species are those migrating great distances from country to country, such as the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and our raptors, like hawks, eagles, osprey and turkey vultures.

At Lake Erie Metropark, you can view the great migration, as a designated watch site for raptor migration. Influenced by geography, weather, and other factors the numbers of raptors streaming over the watch site have ranged from as low as 30,000 birds for the three-month season, to over 600,000 birds. Although Broad-winged Hawks and Turkey Vultures often make-up the largest percentage of these numbers, there are a total of 16 different species that can be seen with some consistency. These include such birds as Bald Eagles, Osprey, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, Golden Eagles and others.

For over 35 years, the Detroit Hawk Watch has been conducted in one form or another at Lake Erie Metropark; and the boat launch in the park has been the primary site for over 20 of those years. A paid counter, sponsored by the International Wildlife Refuge Alliance, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, and the Hawk Migration Association of North America, along with numerous volunteers can be found at the watch site seven days a week from September 1st through the end of November. The site is opened to everyone, and information is provided by the volunteers; as well as an interpretive kiosk provided through donations from Hawk Watch volunteers.

Huron-Clinton Metroparks Interpreter, Paul Cypher said, “The fall signifies a special time at Lake Erie Metropark, we gear up for our Raptor programs, where we can share the beauty, strength and pure awesomeness of raptors. This year, we were able to restart outdoor programming so we can get out there and enjoy the season’s migration.”

Be sure to add your Metroparks to your fall bucket list and experience the wonder of the fall bird migration! Explore raptor and programs at https://www.metroparks.com/events/list/?tribe-bar-search=raptor.


 

MDOT is hiring: learn more at Oct. 6 virtual career fair


Posted by The Huron Hub
Sept. 22, 2020

Fast facts:

MDOT full-time and seasonal positions are available throughout the state.
MDOT’s will be hosting a virtual career fair 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 6.
Registration is open now until Oct. 6 at https://app.brazenconnect.com/a/Michigan/e/4q9Mn.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is hosting a virtual career fair 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6, to help fill a number of seasonal and permanent positions.

MDOT has partnered with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to give prospective candidates a chance to engage with MDOT staff, ask questions, and learn about current and future career opportunities through chat and video conversations.

The department is currently in need of more than 100 limited-term, winter maintenance workers in all regions of the state. The minimum requirement for these positions is a valid Michigan Class B CDL. All other training will be provided. This is a great entry point into the department and could lead to future full-time opportunities.

Other available positions include electricians, internships (including veterans, engineering, and Transportation Diversity Recruitment Program positions), transportation engineers, transportation maintenance workers (seasonal and full-time), transportation planners, transportation technicians, and other skilled trades and professional positions.

Interested candidates are encouraged to look over current positions as new ones are being posted each day at http://www.Michigan.gov/MDOTJobs. The virtual career fair is open to all experience levels. Hiring requirements are based upon the individual position.

For more information, contact MDOT Workforce Programs and Recruitment Unit Manager James Fults at MDOT-Recruitment@Michigan.gov.

Article source: MDOT


 

Huron-Clinton Metroparks are hosting drive-in movies this summer


Posted Tuesday, July 21, 2020 — 3:00 PM EST | THE HURON HUB

The Huron-Clinton Metroparks are hosting drive-in movies this summer throughout the park system.

From the Metroparks:

Pack up the family and head out to your Metroparks to enjoy a movie under the stars – drive-in style! Bring some popcorn and your favorite snacks and then settle in to enjoy the show from the comfort and safety of your own vehicle (or socially distanced bicycle). Movies may be busy and space is on a first-come-first-parked basis until we are full. Please plan to arrive early to get the best spot and remember to give other visitors the recommended 6 feet of safe space when leaving your vehicle. Advanced reservations will not be taken.

Paid admission into the Metroparks is required, but the movies are free to watch.

Here is the movie schedule, also available at this link:

July 25 | The Secret Life of Pets 2 | Dusk | Willow Metropark  Details

August 8 | Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker | Dusk | Kensington Metropark  Details

August 13 | Field of Dreams | Dusk | Lake St. Clair Metropark Details

August 14 | Toy Story 4 | Dusk | Hudson Mills Metropark Details

August 15 | Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker | Dusk | Willow Metropark Details

August 22 | Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker | Dusk | Stony Creek Metropark Details

August 27 | A League of Their Own | Dusk | Lake St. Clair Metropark Details

August 28 | Frozen 2 | Dusk | Kensington Metropark Details

August 29 | Toy Story 4 | Dusk | Willow Metropark Details

September 5 | Aladdin | Dusk | Stony Creek Metropark Details


 

Metropark pools, splash pads, campgrounds open during Fourth of July; reduced capacities, additional precautions in place


Posted July 2, 2020 | The Huron Hub 

Article submitted by Huron-Clinton Metroparks 

Huron-Clinton Metroparks has opened splash pads, campgrounds, farm centers, boat rentals and some pools. We’re ready to welcome you this Independence Day. Reduced capacities and additional precautions are in place to protect visitors and staff.

The Independence Day holiday weekend is right around the corner. And there’s no better excuse for getting together with family and friends to enjoy the outdoors. This year is no exception. Even though the annual Metroparks fireworks shows have been canceled – for everyone’s safety – you’ll still have plenty of ways to enjoy your favorite parks.

“The Fourth of July weekend is always an exciting time in the parks,” says Metroparks Director Amy McMillan. “We’re just as excited this year to welcome everyone into the parks, but we’re taking our safety precautions very seriously. It’s important that visitors continue practicing social distancing.”

Bring your family and hit the trails – enjoy the sights on a nature hike, coast down the hike-bike trail or test your skills on a mountain bike trail. You can still work on your swing at any of the Metroparks golf courses, throw some discs at our disc golf courses or spend the afternoon grilling up something yummy at a family picnic (as long as your gathering doesn’t exceed the 100 person limit set by Governor Whitmer’s current Executive Order).

If it’s sunshine and water you seek, take a dip in the lake at Maple and Martindale Beaches in Kensington Metropark, Eastwood and Baypoint Beaches at Stony Creek Metropark and the beach at Lake St. Clair Metropark. Splash pads are now open at Kensington, Indian Springs and Lake St. Clair Metroparks. So is the pool at Willow Metropark.

The wave pool at Lake Erie Metropark, the pool at Lake St. Claire Metropark and the Turtle Cove Aquatic Center at Lower Huron Metropark remain closed while staff complete maintenance and improvement projects and train lifeguard staff. We haven’t yet set a target date for reopening. According to Director McMillan, “Many of our facilities are operating with reduced capacities and additional precautions in place to protect visitors and staff. It’s best to check our website before your visit so you’re aware of what changes you might find.”

For animal lovers, the farm centers at Kensington and Wolcott Mill Metroparks are now open. Visitors will notice one-way traffic in certain areas and reduced capacities allowed inside barns, but kids and adults alike can still visit their favorite farm friends and enjoy a day at the farm.

Additionally, we’ve reopened other facilities that were closed under previous executive orders:

  • Marinas at Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie Metroparks
  • Boat rental locations
  • Liveries
  • Playgrounds in all parks (playgrounds in Lower Huron, Willow, Oakwoods and Lake Erie Metroparks will open July 1 when the order from Wayne County Health Department is lifted)
  • Campgrounds at Lower Huron and Stony Creek Metroparks

Please note that the Metroparks team continues to actively monitor attendance in the parks. When overcrowding occurs, we may use temporary closures to certain areas within the parks. Or entire parks. Depending on the time of day that capacity is reached, the park may reopen as visitors leave. Those visitors already in the park when a closure starts are welcome to enjoy the rest of their visit. You can learn about all these closures and precautions before your visit at metroparks.com/covid.


 

Asian tiger mosquitoes identified in Wayne County; insect can transmit viruses

 

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This year, the Asian tiger mosquito (seen here) was discovered in an industrial area in Taylor. In 2018, the mosquitoes were again found in an industrial area of Romulus. (Photo/Wikipedia)


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| June 30, 2020

The invasive Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, has again been identified in Wayne County, officials from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Wayne County Health Department announced recently.

The Asian tiger mosquito was discovered in Michigan for the first time in 2017, in an industrial area of Livonia in Wayne County. In 2018, the mosquitoes were again found in Wayne County, in an industrial area of Romulus. This time, the mosquito was discovered in an industrial area in Taylor.

Aedes albopictus, along with Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito), can transmit viruses such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika to people. These mosquitoes are widespread from tropical to temperate regions of the globe, including many parts of the U.S. They do not occur naturally in Michigan, where winters are usually too harsh for them to survive. However, warming climate trends are supporting the spread of these mosquitoes into more northern regions.

“Although we have not had any illnesses associated with these species of mosquitoes in Michigan, it is important to take precautions since other mosquitoes can spread viruses such as West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis to people,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “We urge Michiganders to take precautions such as using an EPA-registered insect repellent when outdoors.”

The Asian tiger mosquito can live in areas with climates that range from tropical to temperate, and it has been extending its known range in the U.S. They are considered established in many midwestern states including Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. Occasionally, the mosquitoes will travel in commercial products shipped from states where they are currently established. This is likely how the mosquitoes have shown up in Wayne County.

This summer, MDHHS has again partnered with local health departments in Wayne and 23 other counties in Michigan to conduct surveillance for the two mosquito species that can carry Zika and other tropical viruses. These invasive day-biting mosquitoes breed in containers where water collects, such as old tires, gutters and flowerpots. Continued surveillance to date suggests that breeding populations have not survived the winter in our state.

Industries that import into Michigan items that can hold water and serve as breeding sites for mosquitoes should consider taking precautions to kill mosquito larvae that may be present in these products.

Michigan residents can protect themselves from mosquito bites by:

  • Eliminating sources of standing water such as wading pools, old tires, buckets and containers by dumping water to prevent mosquito eggs from hatching or larvae from developing into biting adults.
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors.
  • Applying an EPA-registered insect repellent according to label instructions.
  • Making sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.

For more information about mosquito-borne viruses and mosquito surveillance in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.


 

Detroit Zoo releases 170 dusky gopher frogs into the wild

The dusky gopher frogs bred at the Detroit Zoo’s National Amphibian Conservation Center and were released in Mississippi this month as part of a cooperative program to restore a wild population of the endangered species. (Photo: John A. Tupy/U.S. Department of Agriculture)


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| June 19, 2020

Here’s something nice to read about: The Detroit Zoo recently released 170 dusky gopher frogs into the wild.

Chalk it up as a win for Mother Nature, because these frogs are critically endangered amphibians.

“This event marks the third time Detroit Zoo-born dusky gopher frogs were returned to the species’ native habitat in the Mississippi’s Ward Bayou Wildlife Management Area. The first two releases occurred in 2018 and 2019, which gave 130 Detroit Zoo-born frogs the opportunity to make their way into the wild,” a statement from The Detroit Zoo said.

The frogs bred at the Detroit Zoo’s National Amphibian Conservation Center and were released in Mississippi this month as part of a cooperative program to restore a wild population of the endangered species.

This year’s frogs were sent to Memphis, where they joined other captive-bred dusky gopher frogs from Memphis Zoo and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium before being released in Mississippi.

All of the released amphibians are tagged with identification to track their survival.

“DZS staff weren’t there for the frogs’ release this year due to COVID-19 precautions, but we know that our efforts here in Detroit are helping to ensure that these frogs will soon thrive in their natural habitat,” said Dr. Ruth Marcec-Greaves, director of the National Amphibian Conservation Center at the Detroit Zoo.

Once abundant throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, dusky gopher frogs are nearly extinct. This species is among the most endangered species in the world, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

“With nearly half of the world’s 8,000 plus amphibian species threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, climate change, pollution, infectious diseases and other factors, bolstering the population of these amphibians in their natural environment is critical to their survival,” Marcec-Greaves said.

Dusky gopher frogs (Lithobates sevosus) — formerly known as Mississippi gopher frogs — are medium-sized frogs that are black, brown or gray with dark spots and ridges along their backs. Their skin is covered with bumpy glands that secrete a coating that protects their skin.

When picked up, they cover their eyes with their forefeet, possibly to protect their faces until predators taste their bitter, milky skin secretions and drop them. They have loud, guttural calls that sound like snoring.

The dusky gopher frogs at the Detroit Zoo’s National Amphibian Conservation Center live in special bio-secure rooms behind the scenes and are not viewable to the public.

“The Zoo population is critical insurance against extinction until the species can be adequately protected in the wild and suitable locations are found for release,” the Zoo said.


 

Check out this bird’s-eye view of downtown New Boston

Check out this bird’s-eye view of downtown New Boston

Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| June 17, 2020


This is pretty neat: an eye in the sky over the community.

Here’s a cool perspective of downtown New Boston.

Local resident Dan Spangler shared these cool shots of the village from his drone.

Check them out:

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