Trail of Memory
A living memorial at Parker Mill
by Jan Schlain
Thanks to a nature-minded family, a new walking trail circles what was once a millpond north of Geddes Road. "Dad died a year ago," says Jeff Post, walking through the construction zone at Parker Mill County Park that will soon be christened the Helen and Norris Post Legacy Trail-a $420,000 memorial to his parents.
The Posts take pleasure in honoring their loved ones in ways that reflect their appreciation of nature. After Jeff's sister Julie was tragically killed by a drunk driver, the family helped revitalize a collection of Appalachian plants at Nichols Arboretum, because it reminded them of their parents' farm in North Carolina. And there's already another Post Trail at Parker Mill that honors Jeff's grandfather, Hoyt. It was paid for with a legacy from Hoyt's brother, John, an attorney.
After the Hoyt G. Post Trail was finished, "there was money left over," Jeff explains, "so my folks looked at several options. One idea was to link the Parker Mill area to Matthaei Botanical Gardens. We worked with the U for about two years but weren't able to complete a workable plan." Coy Vaughn, the county's superintendent of park planning, says some administrators "were concerned about people walking in from all directions."
But it all worked out eventually. "Washtenaw Parks and Rec mentioned that they held a piece of property on the north side of Geddes opposite Parker Mill," Jeff says. "My folks decided, upon seeing the area, that it was a perfect extension." (His mother now lives nearby, in Glacier Hills.) When it's completed this month, the new trail will include an interpretive pavilion and a footbridge that gracefully arches over Fleming Creek.
This article has been edited since its publication in the July 2009 Ann Arbor Observer to correct the description of John Post.
[Originally published in July, 2009.]