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State of Michigan just bought land for 103rd state park

Jun 17, 2016

Watkins Lake.
Credit Legacy Land Conservancy

The state of Michigan and Washtenaw County have each purchased land for a new state park.

Watkins Lake State Park and County Preserve spans 1,122 acres of Jackson and Washtenaw counties.

Ron Olson is chief of parks and recreation for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He says it’s a unique kind of property in southern Michigan.

“To have woods, and waters and open prairie lands and things like that are fairly unique, that are contiguous with each other, because most lakes, for example, are surrounded by privately owned dwellings," he says.

Olson says the park will be designed for a variety of activities, including hunting.

“You know, trail walking, hiking, birdwatching, some mountain biking and equestrian uses,” he says.

He says they’ll launch a public process soon to plan the design of the park. The development process could take a few years.

The DNR purchased 717 acres of land for $2.9 million. The money came from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.