Explore: Robert H. Long Nature Park in Commerce Twp

Explore: Robert H. Long Nature Park in Commerce Twp

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 22, 2018)

Commerce Township, MI – Former Commerce Township Supervisor Robert H. Long was passionate about nature and the creation of spaces to protect it. That’s why the Robert H. Long Nature Park bears his name.

And it is, indeed, an oasis. This township-owned park is surrounded by city-life, with homes and busy streets on all sides.  Yet inside on the trails and the banks of Berry Lake, one can almost forget the outside noise.

A short trail to the right of the parking lot leads to a pavilion on the lake where groups can enjoy gatherings with views of the lake and it’s abundant bird population.  The birds seem to have their own territories, like cliques in a middle school cafeteria.  The puffy white swans claim the middle, pretty but also aggressive.  Ducks have their own area, and so does a small gathering of American Coots.  Canadian Geese swoop in for quick chats, but soon fly off again.  And then there are the standoffishish loners – the blue herons that perch on logs as if they are sitting on thrones just waiting for someone to snap their picture, and the cunning whooping cranes who move strategically through the shallow water, darting their heads into the water to snatch up their prey.

Trails to the left of the entrance lead hikers and photographers through marshy areas with multiple scenes for such a small space. In places the pathway is lined by cattails and other tall grasses that tower over visitors. Other areas bring folks right into the areas beloved by the birds, so even amateurs can often see these creatures up close.

A covered wooden bridge is a cozy touch, that provides another view of Berry Lake.  Beyond that is a mini graveyard of tree trunks, jutting up into the beautiful sky while a patch of grass thrives in the muddy earth below.  Not far beyond that the trees get thick and the often muddy trail is full of prints from dogs, deer, muskrats, and raccoons.

Wildflowers and other varieties of vegetation line the pathways. Closer looks offer the reward of watching spiders and insects at work.

Robert H. Long Nature Park is located Entrance off 14 Mile Road between M-5 and Welch Drive in Commerce Township.  The Commerce Township Parks and Recreation page is under construction, but hopefully will have more information soon.

For other places to explore in Oakland County and beyond check out the Oakland County Times EXPLORE! Section!  Want to see more stories like this? Chip in with Reader Support, or become a Sponsor.


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