Explore: 4,461 Acres of Nature and Fun at Stony Creek Metropark

Explore: 4,461 Acres of Nature and Fun at Stony Creek Metropark

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Aug. 23, 2020)

Shelby Township, MI – For all the exploring done for this series, nothing has compared to the amazing beauty and variety of Stony Creek Metropark. Even after several visits there is still much to explore in this 4,461 acre oasis.

Centered around the 500-acre Stony Creek Lake, the park has beaches for swimming, boat rentals, camping, picnic areas, a golf course, disc golf, sports fields, picnic areas and pavilions, a nature center, fishing areas and of course an abundance of nature trails.

Some trails are paved pathways where people of all abilities can walk, run, bike, rollerblade, and use wheelchairs or strollers with ease.

A network of various rustic trails give plenty of opportunities to interact with nature. Seasoned hikers can go for miles through woods, meadows, wetlands, and prairies.  One lovely trail, for example, had a meadow dotted with compass plants – tall stalks with multiple small sunflower heads perked up over the tall grasses that swayed in the gentle summer breeze.

One morning I saw nine raccoons within one section of forest, scrounging the ground for food and scurrying up trees when they figured out a human was nearby.

Another morning, in a patch of tail where the woods meet the wetlands, dozens of tiny American toads hopped about in the sand as they made their way to futures full of dirt and trees.

Deer, turkey, chipmunks, squirrels, and bunnies are common sites along the paths, and birdwatchers can be delighted by the herons that fly up as one approaches open marshy areas. Another favorite site is the cell phone tower at the entrance of the Inwood Trails, which is home to an osprey nest, home to a rather vocal bird.

Perhaps the most exciting was to see – and hear – was a large pileated woodpecker that was about a foot and a half tall.  These forest giants make a distinct kind of mark when they peck away at trees.  Instead of round holes, the pileateds prefer to peck out tall rectangles from the trunk.  I found it in an area where the path was made of thin planks, so thankfully my steps were already extra quiet and cautious enough to see this creature at work.

Stony Creek is part of the Huron-Clinton Metropark system.  The park spreads into both Oakland County and Macomb, with the entrance being at 4300 Main Park Road Shelby Township, MI 48316.  Learn more at http://www.metroparks.com/parks/stony-creek-metropark/#2.

Find more places to Explore! in the Oakland County Times Explore! Index.

       

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