In Genesee County, there's a park to suit everyone's fancy

In Genesee County, the parks offer something for everyone, whether you like hiking in the woods, serene walking paths, or even a paddle down a water trail.

“We have trails to suit all your needs, right here in Genesee County,” says Danielle Fulcher, the Communications, Event and Brand Manager for Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission. “Everyone has different abilities and capabilities. Accessibility is one of the large focuses in Genesee County Parks. There are accessible parking spaces, bathrooms, universally accessible playgrounds, and pavilions.”

In addition to countless miles of hiking and nature trails, the Genesee County Parks system boasts 68 miles of paved and gravel trails, 14 of which are for non-motorized use. Within the city of Flint alone, outdoor enthusiasts have accessibility to more than 4 miles of trails at Bluebell Beach, Stepping Stone Falls and Bluegill Boat Launch, and over 20 miles of paved, non-motorized trails within the Flint River Trail System. The Flint River Water Trail offers opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and fishing.

In 2017, according to the Genesee County Municipal Planning Commission, 49,000 trail users visited the more than 40 Genesee County Park sites, spanning nearly 12,000 acres of land. The most popular being the Flushing Riverview Trail which averaged over 500 users each day.

Another popular location for visitors is the For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum in Burton, the busiest facility aside from Crossroads Village. The Nature Preserve provides year-round programming, a tree, butterfly, hoop houses, an aviary, the ability to check out yoga mats, walking sticks and even birding, insect and discovery backpacks. Around the Preserve, there are approximately 8 miles of family-friendly trails that are well marked and easily navigable.

For those looking for a more rigorous hike, off-leash dog training or fishing, visitors can go to Hogsbacks Area at the edge of Genesee County. The area covers 2,000 square acres with rolling hills, foot trails, two-track, and a toboggan hill and is a short drive from Downtown Flint.

Currently, construction is underway to expand the trail systems including a link to the Iron Belle Trail, a state-wide trail spanning from the western Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle in Detroit. Non-motorized trails along the Flint River will be paved, ADA compliant and have been widened for equestrian use.

This year, Genesee County Parks is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Started in 1968, the county parks have aimed to provide residents of Flint and Genesee County with outdoor experiences and natural resource preservation. Today, the parks still have the same focus and are continuing to expand and improve the parks.

All Genesee County Parks are open from 8:00 a.m. until sunset Monday through Sunday.

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Read more articles by Tim Galloway.

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