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Parks & Rec - News

Posted on: May 15, 2020

Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission Updates, Guidelines, Park Use and Closures

Flowers at County Farm Park

ANN ARBOR, MI – May 26, 2020, Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission has continued to update our policies, procedures and guidelines weekly based on Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Orders. The most recent Executive Orders [2020-59], [2020-69], and [2020-100], have provided more guidance regarding the new guidelines, park openings, delay of openings and closures of some amenities and facilities.

Parks and Preserves are critical to the health and general well-being of county residents.  Acknowledging the importance of parks to the community, the Governor has specifically allowed increasing levels of outdoor recreation with each updated executive order that is released.  As the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order is starting to show steady and positive results, we are developing plans to open more facilities and programs, while adhering to the important social distancing protocols. 

As this pandemic remains a very fluid and evolving situation we continue to base our opening/operations plans on the most current directives from Federal and State Government, guidance from our County Health Department, and best practices from other parks and recreation agencies around the state.  The health and safety of our park staff and patrons are paramount in our park opening and operations plans.

Below is an update regarding the current status of Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission operations. These updates are subject to change, please visit our website washtenaw.org/parks for the most up-to-date information regarding Washtenaw County Parks operations.

PIERCE LAKE GOLF COURSE
As per Governor Whitmer’s updated "Stay Home. Stay Home. Save Lives" Executive Order (EO) [2020-59], Pierce Lake Golf Course has been cleared to open for the season. To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and follow Governor Whitmer’s new guidelines, there are a few new rules to follow at the course to help keep our visitors and staff safe:

  • Motorized carts are available for use as of May 11, they are one rider per cart unless patrons are from the same household
  • Tee times will be limited to help enforce social distancing practices
  • Only credit cards will be accepted through the front window of the clubhouse at this time

Staff will continue to monitor daily use at this facility and amend the rules as necessary to comply with the social distancing guidelines, Public Health Department and CDC Recommendations. Additional information and updates can be found online here.

MERI LOU MURRAY RECREATION CENTER
Per Executive Order (EO) [2020-100], this facility is closed through June 14, 2020.

The Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center is set to open on June 15, unless the Executive Order is extended. Some new guidelines in place will include; access for members only the first month, limited equipment access, and proper sanitation efforts.

ROLLING HILLS COUNTY PARK & INDEPENDENCE LAKE COUNTY PARK
Both facilities have opened their gates to the public again with the expectation that social distancing guidelines will continue to be followed. Staff will continue to monitor daily use at these facilities and amend the guidelines as necessary to comply with the social distancing guidelines, Public Health Department and CDC Recommendations.

ROLLING HILLS WATER PARK
On May 12, 2020 the Washtenaw County Recreation Commission made the tough decision to close Rolling Hills Water Park for the summer.

The level of public congregation that takes place at aquatic facilities and the number of staff required to operate these facilities will make it extremely difficult to open and manage them safely this summer. Once again it is with a heavy heart that the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission came to this decision. But, with guidance from the Department of Public Health it does not seem as though Rolling Hills County Park can provide a safe environment for public use this summer. Safety has been the forefront of the decision-making process and there are too many variables to maintain to allow for safe distancing, and proper disinfecting procedures.

INDEPENDENCE LAKE COUNTY PARK – BEACH
The beach at Independence Lake County Park is set for a delayed opening, with a plan to open on June 5, 2020.

BLUE HERON BAY SPRAY PARK
Due to equipment failures unrelated to the spread of COVID-19, Blue Heron Bay Spray Park will not be able to open this summer.

 Over the past few seasons, Blue Heron Bay Spray Park has experienced some mechanical issues which have caused mid-season closures and shutdown of features.  Washtenaw County Parks is committed to providing the best possible experience for our patrons, therefore in order to repair those issues we have made the tough decision to not open the spray park for the 2020 summer season. We anticipate reopening for summer 2021.

DAY CAMPS
On May 12, 2020 the Washtenaw County Recreation Commission made the tough decision to close day camps for the summer. This decision was not made lightly and as Commissioner, Dan Ezekiel said at the Commission meeting, “it was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make while serving as a Commissioner for Washtenaw County Parks."

Washtenaw County Parks feels responsible for the well-being of the children of our community, and the ability to provide them with quality programming in a safe environment. We have explored every possible way to run camp safely and effectively before making this tough decision. However, with the spread of COVID-19, we must make health and wellness the top priority. It is with heavy hearts that we cancel our programming for the summer.

NATURE PROGRAMS
All nature programs through the month of May have been canceled. Please stay tuned to our website and social media for updates on future programming, including virtual programs. 

DISC GOLF
Disc golf courses at Rolling Hills County Park and Independence Lake County Park opened on May 2, with course guidelines, posted at hole 1 at each facility. Staff will continue to monitor daily use at these facilities and amend the rules as necessary to comply with the social distancing guidelines, Public Health Department and CDC Recommendations.

SWIFT RUN DOG PARK
The Swift Run Dog Park will reopen Friday, May 8. Social distancing guidelines are being enforced. Visitors should wear gloves when entering and exiting at the admission gates.
STEWARDSHIP VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
All stewardship and volunteer activities through May have been canceled. Please stay tuned to our website and social media for updates on future volunteer opportunities.

PLAYGROUNDS
Playgrounds remain closed. Staff will continue to monitor daily use at these facilities and amend the rules as necessary to comply with the social distancing guidelines, Washtenaw County Public Health Department and CDC Recommendations.

SHELTERS AND PAVILIONS
Shelters and pavilions remain closed. Staff will continue to monitor daily use at these facilities and amend the rules as necessary to comply with the social distancing guidelines, Washtenaw County Public Health Department and CDC Recommendations.

PICNIC TABLES AND BENCHES
Shelters and pavilions remain closed. Staff will continue to monitor daily use at these facilities and amend the rules as necessary to comply with the social distancing guidelines, Washtenaw County Public Health Department and CDC Recommendations. 

YPSILANTI SKATEPARK CONSTRUCTION
Skatepark construction will begin after the Memorial Day weekend. Construction is anticipated to last between 8-10 weeks. Updates will be provided on the Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission website washtenaw.org/parks and Facebook page, facebook.com/wcparc.

BORDER-TO-BORDER TRAIL CONSTRUCTION
Construction started May 4, on the Border-to-Border Trail tunnel under M-52. The hope is to limit the M-52 shutdown to less than 3 weeks.

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Coy Vaughn, Director
Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission
[email protected] / (734) 971-6337


Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission
The Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, founded in 1973, currently manages 14 parks and 33 nature preserves totaling more than 6,000 acres. Washtenaw County Parks provides recreational and nature-based programming. Besides trails within most facilities, WCPARC major trail initiative, the Border-to-Border (B2B) trail, connects Wayne, Washtenaw and Livingston counties via a 70+ mile trail system. Visit us at washtenaw.org/parks on Facebook and Instagram, or call 734-971-6337.

Washtenaw County Parks Facebook Page
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