With 717-acre land purchase, Michigan getting new state park

Posted at 6:05 PM, Jun 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-16 18:05:57-04

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is getting a new state park — and it’s the first to be managed jointly with a county recreation agency.

The Department of Natural Resources says the state has spent $2.9 million to purchase 717 acres in Jackson County’s Norvell Township. It’s being combined with 405 contiguous acres in Manchester Township owned by Washtenaw County and will be called the Watkins Lake State Park and County Preserve.

It becomes Michigan’s 103rd state park.

Public meetings will be scheduled to discuss a management plan that will guide development of the Watkins Lake park. Officials say recreational opportunities will include hiking, birdwatching, upland hunting and mountain biking.

The park will feature open meadows, mixed hardwoods, low wetlands and Watkins Lake, which is popular with waterfowl during fall and spring migration.