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Community Enjoys a Michigan Ponds Revitalized Native Ecosystem

Scenic Rolling Hills County Park is Washtenaw County’s cozy outdoor destination for recreation. Residents and visitors in the area come to the park year round to take part in the fun for all ages.

In the warmer months, you can catch a soccer game at one of the park’s five fields. After the match, cool down by wading in the wave pool or racing down the water slides at Rolling Hills Water Park. When you’re ready to relax after a day of activities, enjoy a nice picnic under the shade of the stately oak trees.

Come wintertime, bundle up before hitting the park’s half-mile sledding hill or exploring the three miles of groomed cross-country ski trails. Sleds and skis are conveniently available for rent, and to warm up, you’ll find a toasty fire waiting for you in The Lodge after a day in the snow.

But perhaps the greatest perk the park has to offer is away from the busy recreation areas. The Spring Pond area provides a quiet destination with leisurely fishing and scenic trails, allowing park-goers to immerse themselves in the great outdoors.

NEXUS Gas Transmission (NEXUS) recently partnered with the Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission (WCPARC) to protect the natural resources at Spring Pond. The project has two general focuses: restoring a native plant community and restocking native fish in Spring Pond.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to partner with the Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission to improve and restore this priceless community resource,” said Adam Parker with NEXUS Gas Transmission. “The lessons taught and memories created in this park will form an impression on the area’s youth that can ignite a lifelong passion for environmental stewardship.”

In June 2017, children enrolled in the park’s day camp got some dirt under their fingernails by removing invasive species from the shoreline and nearby wetlands. Plants like phragmites, a common non-native reed, crowd out native species and wreak havoc on the local ecosystem. The day campers then planted 700 native plants around the pound. It was a hands-on lesson about the importance of native pollinators.

Reintroducing native species to the Spring Pond area will give the park a fresh breath of new life. These improvements will ultimately help to restore a vibrant native ecosystem in Rolling Hills. Once the project is complete, WPARC Naturalists will host a number of events and programs to highlight the park’s resources that will attract nature enthusiasts, recreational anglers and families for years to come.

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