2018-06-21 / Living

County park assets toured by officials

By Paula K. Schmidt
810-452-2647 • pschmidt@mihomepaper.com


A snapshot of the portions of Atlas Township and Grand Blanc which connect to the Iron Belle Trail. Solid red lines are existing trail, dashed lines are proposed. 
Photo provided A snapshot of the portions of Atlas Township and Grand Blanc which connect to the Iron Belle Trail. Solid red lines are existing trail, dashed lines are proposed. Photo provided ATLAS TWP. — Talked about as one of the newest jewel’s in the Genesee County Park’s crown, Atlas County Park was one of several sites toured last week by not only local representatives, but county and state officials as well.

Township Supervisor Tere Onica said they were thrilled to have the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) trust fund board and members of the Six Rivers Land Conservancy at the park to discover a small portion of the mile-long property which is situated across Hegel Road from Goodrich High School.

Onica reiterated what some of the people involved in conserving land said, in that not all land is suitable for conservation, but if they had to pick a great example, it would be Atlas County Park. Although previously privately owned, a great portion of the property was left in its natural state which led to the viability of obtaining it for that purpose, officials said.


Genesee County Parks Interim Director and Atlas Township Board Trustee Barry June points out park features to tour visitors as Atlas Township Supervisor Tere Onica listens at right. 
Photo by Paula K. Schmidt Genesee County Parks Interim Director and Atlas Township Board Trustee Barry June points out park features to tour visitors as Atlas Township Supervisor Tere Onica listens at right. Photo by Paula K. Schmidt Also speaking at the Atlas stop was chair of the Walk, Bike Run Atlas Township committee, Paulette Johnson.

“This is a wonderful park,” Johnson said. She explained that it was a great addition to their paved section of the Iron Belle Trail on Gale Road, just a few hundred feet from the park, which offered a natural alternative to people seeking to interact with nature.

Johnson credited former county parks Director Amy McMillan with her role in bringing to the attention of the conservancy and the DNR. She recalls telling them during an initial meeting, “It will be a wonderful fit for our new trail being built on Gale Road.


A couple takes a walk down the main trail at the Atlas County Park prior to the tours arrival. 
Photo by Paula K. Schmidt A couple takes a walk down the main trail at the Atlas County Park prior to the tours arrival. Photo by Paula K. Schmidt Current Genesee County Parks Interim Director and Atlas Township Board Trustee Barry June detailed some of the natural features of the park for the visitors as well as noting the old Detroit Urban Railroad trestle which still crosses the land.

June said on the township level, there had been concerns the property would be developed into a sub-division so were fully on board with the project to acquire it as conserved land, as a benefit to all residents; and he mentioned that many of the teachers in the schools nearby are very excited about it as a science learning opportunity for local students.

The Gale Road path is set to connect to Grand Blanc in the next couple of years, the border of which is about four miles from the park. “Once we get hooked to Grand Blanc, I can see some people riding out here,” June said.

There are 51 properties in the county parks portfolio at this time and Adam Moore, of the City of Flint Parks Department said there are no less than ten parks along the Flint River which make up a portion of the Iron Belle Trail, which goes all the way up to the county parks building in Genesee.

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