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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan Natural area’

Although it is always beautiful at Haven Hill in Highland Recreation area, no matter what time of year, Fall is the most special of times for exploring the history there. After much of the thick foliage and ground cover has dies off, there is much to be reviled.

Right now is a perfect time at Haven Hill. There are still some very colorful trees with leaves on them, but enough of the thick ground cover has gone away to expose much of the old forgotten Nature Trails and historical features that get swallowed in the Spring and Summer months.

We suggest you download the two maps we offer here on the Blog, and also head over to the Haven Hill Project web site, and get an idea of some of the historical sites you would like to visit on your Fall Colors exploration tour. The Colors happening in the far west end of the old Ford private Nature Trails are just spectacular! Or if you are really energetic……take the long 5 mile journey, all the way around Haven Hill lake and through the heart of the Haven Hill Natural Area. Again……you will experience some of the very best Fall colors anywhere in S.E.Michigan.

No matter what you end up doing at Haven Hill at this time of year, the lack of thick cover, no insects or Skeeters, and the combination of history and Nature will make for just a wonderful afternoon Fall experience you will not soon forget.

See you all out on the Trails at Haven Hill, Highland Recreation area!

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In preparations for this Saturdays Natural area HIKE with Hiking Michigan, out at Highland Recreation area, Rich & Chris, Trail Leaders for the HIKE, went on a couple of picture pre-hikes in the area.

Beautiful as always, in any season, the Natural area showed all the signs of getting ready to Spring alive. Tiny sprouts, Lilly-pad blooms underwater and snails clinging to the edges of the Haven Hill lake Dam. With all the warm rain and extra warm temps. scheduled this week, it is hard to say just what will be blooming through out the Natural area, this Saturday at the HIKE.

Rich & Chris have a lovely route selected for us that circles back through sections of the old Ford Estate on Haven Hill. So it will be a day of Nature & History at Haven Hill, Highland Recreation area, Saturday, 3/17/12, starting at 12noon and meeting at the Circle parking area. If we get lucky…..Haven Hill expert Darrin, will be on hand for questions and to share some of his extensive knowledge of the history and foliage of Haven Hill.

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Here is the latest map for the Haven Hill section at Highland Recreation area. The map includes the Haven Hill designated Natural Area, as well as the Haven Hill Historical area too. All Trails Markers and signage is listed, as well as many of the historical and natural features located in the area. A “must have”, for exploring the Nature & History of Haven Hill.  HAVEN HILL AREA MAP

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On March 17th, the Haven Hill Project, along with Hiking Michigan, will be doing an expanded Hike of the haven Hill area at Highland recreation area. The Hike will cover most of the Haven Hill designated natural area, located north of haven Hill lake. The lake created when Edsel Ford dammed the small creek in the area.

The Hike will circle through the many unique environments of the Natural area, and then head south into the rarely seen or used, Ford Private nature Trails. These private nature trails where created by the Ford family for the private use by the family and guests to the haven Hill Lodge. Wooden staircases embedded into hillsides, Benches overlooking Ornamental Ponds and many unique waterway Bridges dot this very interesting Nature Trails area of the Park.

The Hike will also circle back through the Lodge and Carriage house section of Haven Hill, to give everyone a well rounded view and idea of a major portion of the Edsel Ford estate at Haven Hill.

Come out and join us for this extended afternoon of Nature and Historical Hiking at Haven Hill, Highland Recreation area. Hikers will meet at the Circle Parking area and head to the haven Hill lake Dam, to begin the afternoons Hiking experience. Hope to see you all starting at 12pm, Saturday, 3/17/12 at Highland Recreation area.

You can download a detailed Flyer for this Hike here: HAVEN HILL AREA HIKE

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I got to Highland around 11am, in the pouring rain. I sat in my car, fielding telephone calls from Hikers who where not coming out in the rain. Didn’t blame them, it had been raining since yesterday night. About 11:30am it let up a bit and I went outside the car and shot a few pictures, that I thought I would use for this rain canceled Hike.

12 noon rolled around and the rain let up to a semi-drizzle and 15 people show up in full rain gear. I was glad I brought mine, and didn’t assume we would cancel on rain. Silly thought on my part……we have NEVER canceled because of rain. :-)

We all headed up Haven Hill and roamed around the Pump-House, Carriage House, Lodge remains, Toboggan Run & Dog Kennel. Mike had all the coordinates for the three USGS Markers on the Hill. We found them all. Also explored some of the light posts that lit the Toboggan run at one time.

From there we headed back down the side of Haven Hill, to the Pool & Tennis court. Always an amazing place to see a huge built-in Pool in the middle of the forest. We went a short distance from there, over to the Fountain area. Another enclosed Ford area, with what was probably a beautiful shallow Fountain in between two small hills in the forest. A quite and natural spot. We talked there about the Estate, the Ford family and some of the details of the infrastructure of the Estate as a whole. A huge system of water pipe, underground electrical conduits and cutting edge Septic system.

We all wandered back to the Circle parking lot and decided to get some food at a local restaurant. Had a great time at the Restaurant. Lots of good laughs and stories. With the long walk and rainy conditions, it produced huge appetites in the Hikers. We ate enormous amounts of food and Deserts.

For what was suppose to be a rain-out Hike, we had an excellent time in unique conditions at Haven Hill. We all stayed pretty dry with our rain coats and hoods. Turned out to be an excellent day.

NOTES: I was appalled at the vandalism and destruction to almost every remaining building and amenity at Haven Hill. Stolen copper flashing from the Carriage house, shroud covering the Toboggan lift stolen, old light poles pulled from the ground, Gang graffiti, and many other things that are adding to the quick deterioration of the entire area. Cannot understand why a number of things are not being done to help keep what is left of the Estate, intact. A person visiting the Estate, even 1 year ago, would hardly recognize what was there before. In a couple of years now, there will only be remains that hardly resembles what was really there. It is a shame at what is happening there, both in Vandalism and lack of proper care.

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It is always a joy to wander around the Haven Hill natural area and at the old Edsel Ford Lodge. But this year, more then ever, there is a huge amount of Poison Ivy lurking in the underbrush. Poison Ivy has always been a part of the environment through out the Park, but this year in particular, it has seen a huge insurgence everywhere.

It is intriguing to wander off the trails and explore some of what remains of the old estate on Haven Hill. But this is when you should be the most cautious on contact with Poison Ivy. learn to ID the plant and just avoid contact. Enjoy the wonders and beauty of Haven Hill, and do it safely.

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Great time to head out to Haven Hill at Highland Recreation area. The Natural area’s main trail, around the north side of the Dam is starting to come into bloom with the many wild flowers and plants that grow there. The many different habitats mean there are many different kinds of plants and flowers in this part of the Park.

Download one of the maps from the web site and take a journey around Haven Hill lake and enjoy the Spring blooms. Circle back through the ruins at Haven Hill Lodge. It is much easier to see and understand the Estate at this time of year, due to the lack of thick tree cover and ground foliage. A wonderful way to spend a Spring afternoon.

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Haven Hill is like a mystery puzzle. years worth of studying and all the pieces are still not in place. The Ford family are secretive with their family information. As would most of us be as well. Have Hill Estate was Edsil & Eleanor’s place to raise their children, and the family has protected this place very well.

New pieces to the puzzle come in all the time, from all types of sources. Recently we received some great new pieces to the puzzle from Claude. We would like to thank Claude immensely for his contributions of information. New pieces to the puzzle are not always new info, but can also be info that further confirms existing analysis or enlarges existing thought.

We welcome all information on Haven Hill. We try and share this info on our various on-line sites. (website, Facebook page, WordPress Blog, and You-Tube videos) Please feel free to contact us with any information about the Haven Hill section of Highland recreation area. This can not only be Ford family info, but also early settlers, Native presence, Foliage and fauna of the Natural area……anything. There is just so much going on at Haven Hill, in both Historical and Natural surroundings, that the puzzle gets bigger and bigger.

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Right now is some of the best times to see things at the Ford estate, that you may not see at any other time of the year. With little foliage and tree cover, many of the now overgrown Estate features, pop out of hiding. Walking the trails, or wandering off the trails can make for some interesting discoveries.

Haven Hill is all about looking closely. Stop from time to time in your travels there, and just look around and see what is hiding in plain view. Is there one of the old stone walls that encircled the main estate on the hill? Maybe one of the many hand-pumps located just off some of the modern trails, that once where used to water the Ford family horses as they traveled the Estate grounds.

There is still so much that has not been discovered or logged at the Estate. Remember…….history has many angles, leave what you find the way it was. Location and how something is places, is just as important as the discovery itself. There are still many secrets to be understood at the Estate.Only the very basics have ever been logged for public knowledge.

Explore, discover, enjoy the history and nature at Haven Hill.

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To start off the Spring season the Haven Hill Project has a jam-packed schedule of Hikes, Talks and publications to be released. We have had many delays in our Book and some redos on our extensive Maps, but everything is back on schedule and will be released shortly.

There is a Campfire History Talk to be announced in April, followed by a detailed HISTORY Hike of Haven Hill proper. This forth History Hike will be extensive, with a Lunch planned on the hill. We will be exploring the Ford estate and features as well as a extensive look at the State designated Natural area that surrounds Haven Hill lake. This should be our best HISTORY Hike to date.

So stay tuned for many exciting Hikes, Campfire Talks and map and Book releases, all starting in April. Thanks for your patience with these delays, it will be worth the wait!

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