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Mixer Playground at Fuller Park. Collage by Brenda Miller Slomovits.
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Thursday August 16, 2018
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Other Local Parks of Note


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Other Local Parks of Note

On the west side, Hunt Park sits atop a glacial hill and offers a panorama of downtown as well as basketball and tennis courts, softball diamonds, and a play area. In the winter it's popular among young sledders, as is Wurster Park on the Old West Side. In between Miller and Huron streets, the large and vibrant West Park has a baseball field, community garden, playground, and a recently renovated band shell that hosts the Ann Arbor Civic Band's summer concert series.

The city park system abounds in wild pockets. These range in size from the Hannah Nature Area, a quaint 1-acre wooded site at the end of Bath St. just west of Seventh St., to the sprawling Marshall Nature Area, 79 acres of ridges, hollows, and low-lying meadows east of Domino's Farms. Located between the Leslie Park Golf Course and Upland Dr., the Leslie Woods Nature Area is a mature woodland that contains some of the largest oaks and hickories within the park system. Another oak-hickory woods, the Bluffs Nature Area above North Main St. features steeply wooded slopes and trails popular among mountain bikers. In the spring, the Redbud Nature Area located off Parkwood Ave. offers easy yet breathtaking hikes through a stand of pink-blossomed redbud trees. This park runs alongside Malletts Creek and is also home to expanses of native bloodroot, wild ginger, and skunk cabbage. On the northwest side of town is Miller Nature Area. Two obscure entrances on Miller west of Newport drop off immediately into a densely overgrown valley. Many small trails switch direction so quickly that disorientation can set in; plunge ahead and you'll eventually emerge in a quiet neighborhood on Arborview.

The County Farm Park on the east side of town offers 141 acres of lush fields, bush-covered areas, and forest lowlands, home to rabbits, woodchucks, pheasant, and numerous songbird species. It has a playground, picnic pavilions, and three loop trails; the longest trail is 1.4 miles and features 18 exercise stations placed along its length.

On the southeast side of town, 80-acre Mary Beth Doyle Park provides picnic tables, a basketball court, swings, paved and unpaved trails, and an 18-hole disc golf course. A wetland preserve, formed by an unusual dam-and-channel system that diverts Mallets Creek, affords opportunities for wildlife viewing year round.

The north side offers 54-acre Olson Park, at Dhu Varren Rd. and Pontiac Tr. Transformed from a gravel pit, Olson includes wetlands, woods, Traver Creek, and Traver Pond, providing a habitat for many species of native plants, butterflies, songbirds, and migratory waterfowl. It has a half-mile paved path surrounding Traver Pond, a basketball court, a dog park, two soccer fields, a playground, a picnic shelter with barbecue grills, a dense net of mountain bike trails, and an accessible fishing platform.

,Pittsfield Township Parks include Lillie Park, 4365 Platt, just south of Ellsworth, with 3 1/2 miles of ADA-accessible nature trails, grills, pavilions, electrical outlet, restrooms, soccer fields, boardwalk, and 2 playground structures; Montpelier Park, 4305 Ellsworth, with 1.5 miles of nature trails, grills, pavilion, restrooms, 2 ball diamonds, 2 playground structures, and tennis courts (no handicap accessible route to restroom), and thePittsfield Preserve north of Michigan Ave. east of Platt, 489 acres with nature trails, a large great blue heron rookery, buttonbush swamp, and numerous wetlands, mature woods, and meadows.

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