Parks ignite synapses and souls in Mount Pleasant
Summer has arrived, with no shortage of beautiful places to get out and play.
Ahh, summer has officially arrived in Michigan, bringing with it the long days of shimmering sunlight and bluebird skies; the gentle babbling of the Chippewa River as it makes its way downstream; the mountains of fresh-from-the-fields produce at the farmer's markets; the live concerts under the stars ... the mosquitos and traffic cones.
OK, no place is perfect, but for outdoors enthusiasts, Mount Pleasant is pretty darn close. With a dozen city-operated parks, three county parks and recreation spaces and two state-run camping and hiking spaces within a half-hour drive, there's no shortage of opportunities to get out and play at any time of year.
In honor of the first day of summer, and to welcome new faces from across the state and Great Lakes region to the community, Central Michigan Life took a quick look at the city's green spaces and play places.
For a list of Isabella County facilities, visit isabellacounty.org/departments/parks-recreation. To learn more about state parks throughout the Mitten, check out dnr.state.mi.us/ParksandTrails.
Also, just a quick reminder that permissible behavior in city parks is regulated by city code, and some facilities -- say the skate space at Island Park -- may have special rules. General park hours are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., according to the city Parks and Recreation Department website, although these, too, may vary.
Before you go, check out the rules and regulations at mt-pleasant.org or the Parks and Recreation website.
Canal Street Neighborhood Park
This one-acre undeveloped open green space at 902 S. Canal St. may easily be mistaken for an empty lot. But with its adjacency to the Chippewa River, groomed lawn and towering shade trees, it's a welcome reprieve for the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods.
A 30-acre park on the west side of town, Chipp-A-Waters is located at 1403 W. High St. According to the city, “located on a State Conservation Area, (it) is a haven for wildlife and an escape for those wishing to enjoy the natural beauty of the Chippewa River.” Chipp-A-Waters Park facilities include an open-air picnic shelter, picnic tables and grills, a playground, modern restrooms and nature trails.
Hannah's Bark Park
Because no outing would be complete without your best friend in tow, Hannah's Bark Park is a pooch-friendly place where dogs can safely share in the fun. A collaborative effort of the city, Union Township and Friends of the Dog Park, the 3.6-acre fenced space includes separate spaces for large and small dogs. Community members and visitors are welcome, but registration and membership (either weekly or yearly) is required. The pup park is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Located at 1535 Sweeney St., Horizon Park has 22.5 acres filled with multiple soccer fields, a softball field and tennis court, a paved fitness trail, playground equipment, a modern restroom and more.
Indian Pines Park
Located outside of city limits but still counted the city Parks and Recreation website, Indian Pines Park is an 80-acre destination inside Union Township. It can be found at the southwest corner of Valley and Summerton roads, and offers wooded wetlands and uplands for nature and bird lovers, access to the Chippewa River and undeveloped trails for wildlife watching or hiking. Hunting and motorized vehicles are prohibited in the park.
Located at 331 Main St., Island park is a 50-acre park with features such as a skate park, lighted softball fields, tennis and basketball courts, a spray park open only during the summer, a canoe landing, a fishing deck, modern restrooms and open-air shelters, to start.
Mill Pond Park
Mill Pond Park is a 90-acre park located in the center of the community at 607 S. Adams St,. It has a canoe landing, fishing deck, nature trails, playground equipment, picnic tables, grills and a modern restroom. The Chippewa River runs through the entire park.
Mission Creek Woodland Park
With amenities such as two open-air shelters, picnic tables, grills, nature trails, a sledding hill, play equipment and more on its 60 acres, Mission Creek Woodland Park “Brings you back to nature, with picturesque scenery that can be enjoyed from the nature trails (that) wind through hardwoods,” according to the city parks website . You can find Mission Creek at 1458 N. Harris St.
One of the smallest developed park by acreage (it's only five), Nelson Park is located at 714 W. Broadway St. between Island and Mill Pond parks. But as proof that big things can come from a small footprint, it includes features like a canoe landing, picnic tables, grills, a fishing deck and modern restrooms.
Pickens Field is a 15-acre sports park located at 309 W. Pickard Ave. The field includes two little league fields, two softball fields, play equipment and modern restrooms.
Located at 1511 Elm St., Sunnyside Park is 17 acres with a six-field soccer/tee-ball complex, a basketball court, playground equipment, a modern restroom, picnic tables and grills.
This 4.5-acre gem at 206 S. Henry St. offers a pre-eminent, universally accessible facility. Complete with a 25-space parking lot, an updated baseball diamond, modern restroom facility, open-air shelter, picnic tables and grills, the park pairs plenty of green space with young trees. Future plans include a modern playground.