IMG 8826 copy scaled Kensington Metropark: Ospreys and Sunsets and Deer, Oh My

Kensington Metropark: Ospreys and Sunsets and Deer, Oh My

Photo by Jennifer Bowman
Photo by Jennifer Bowman

It’s no secret that Michiganders love the outdoors. Summer sports on the lake, skiing and snowboarding in the winter, then as soon as spring comes every sidewalk and bike path fill with people who are ready to soak in as much sunshine and fresh air as possible. Personally, I enjoy a nice walk on a warm afternoon (but really, who doesn’t?), and absolutely love the fact that regardless of where you go in Michigan, there always seems to be some sort of public park nearby. What I was unaware of until recently, however, is the sheer variety of park types that surround us. Case in point: Metroparks.  What exactly are these special places and how are they different from any other Michigan state park?

Well, I did a little research and I took a little visit-more specifically, a bike ride through Kensington Metropark in Milford. I found out that not only are Michigan’s Metroparks run separately from all state parks, they’re also very large (Kensington Metropark alone covers over 4,400 acres—say whaaat?). The Metroparks are also equipped with tons of visitor-friendly activities, including river cruises, water parks, and farm centers. I happened to visit Kensington one evening after most organized activities had closed for the day, so I opted for a scenic bike ride to initiate my first Metropark outing.

Photo by Jennifer Bowman
Photo by Jennifer Bowman

I will preface my experience with this disclaimer: if you’re an allergy sufferer, you may want to wait until a little later in the season before venturing to Kensington. The miles upon miles of trees and wild plants are gorgeous, but just not nose-friendly. I learned this the hard way, and spent a good deal of my trip sneezing and wiping imaginary pieces of cotton from my dry eyes. But if pollen is no match for you, or you’re planning a trip that extends outside of the early-spring bracket, I highly recommend the venture.

Kensington Metropark is perfect for anyone seeking a temporary escape from everyday life.  Paved paths wind through quiet, scenic areas where the only “distractions” are frog croaks and bird whistles, while the sun sets perfectly over open water to create reflections that look like watercolor paintings. It is likely that you’ll be greeted by brightly-colored birds as you make your way along the trails, and if you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of an osprey guarding her nest over Windfall Bay. When my husband and I visited, we also met up with several curious deer, who seemed to pose for our camera as they froze in their tracks, making sure we were just passing by. Once our four-legged friends realized we weren’t a threat, they went back to business, playing and jumping like real-life Bambi characters. Finally, after several minutes of quietly inching towards the herd, my husband informed me that deer do occasionally charge toward humans if threatened. And that’s when I made the executive decision that we had taken enough photos for one evening.

Photo by Jennifer Bowman
Photo by Jennifer Bowman

As night fell over the park, we biked back towards town, racing the sun as it slid lower in the sky. I wouldn’t endorse staying on the trails too long after dark, as the lack of man-made light makes navigation very difficult. There are, however, perfect views along the trail for sunset-watching, so if you’re able to park nearby, it may be worth staying a little longer to see the sky at its most vivid shade of pink. After all, the real world can always wait a few more minutes—and in the meantime, you can always use a flashlight.

Jennifer Bowman

, Contributing Writer

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