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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan Park’

History is not always right there in front of your face. In many cases, the older the historical site, the more time nature, weather and Man has had to change the surroundings. Storms bury things. Erosion and man-made things, change what was there in historical form. Sometimes it is as simple as heavy Forest and ground foliage growth.

This is one of the biggest cases at Haven Hill in Highland Recreation area. The forests around the hilltop Estate and Farm in the lowlands meadows, have been increasingly buried by the ever growing foliage in the Park, where the Estate is now located.

Carriage-house-side-bestSevere neglect from the State DNR has not helped matters either. Bury an old log building in ground foliage and do nothing about it, and it does not take long before the Forest literally eats the building.

But along these same lines, there is much that has been completely engulfed in Foliage and unless looked for in detail, one would never know they where even there.

For instance: The Ford family enjoyed Horseback Riding and Nature Walks on their

FordFarmPump

own private Trails. A few sections of these Horde & Nature Hiking Trails still exist as part of the regular marked Trails at the Park. But most must be discovered.

FenceTopThere are some remnants that you can find and follow that end up showing you Horse resting places, & Hitching Posts buried in the foliage. There are extensive Nature Trails with Board walks and Bridges and Gazebos, where the Fords would stop along their Nature Trail adventures. But it takes some exploring and close examinations.

You do not have to destroy anything to explore and search a Historical area like Haven Hill, and still discover exciting things buried in the Forest trees. It is a wonderful feeling to discover things dating back over 100 years, and know that it was YOU, that are the first one to stumble upon these things.

Remember to leave them as you found them, for the next possible person to come along and have the same thrill you experienced while exploring and then discovering historical sites and items.

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Highland Recreation area and especially the Natural area surrounding Haven Hill can be a delight to Hike and explore. But at this time of year you need to have a few precautions in mind.

The area is flourishing with Poison Ivy. This little bugger just loves the soil and ecosystems there and grows both on the ground and vines up many trees along the trails. Precaution is the best way to deal with Poison Ivy. Be aware of just how this plant looks and eventually being able to spot it, will become second nature. It is worth the learning effort.

The other precaution to take while enjoying a hike around the Haven Hill area, are Ticks. They have become plentiful not only here at Highland Recreation area, but through out the state. DEET and other repellents can help, but checking yourself and your clothing after a Hike is one of the best ways to not walk away from an adventure at the Park, carrying Ticks. This means your Doggie friends too.

Here is a good reference and ID sheet for Ticks in Michigan. Again….just a bit of learning here and some prevention can give you a Tick free hike and a much more enjoyable time at the Park.

TICKS ID & PREVENTION SHEETS

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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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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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The HAVEN HILL area at Highland State Recreation area is always a beautiful place to wander. Every season has it’s own feel and look. The old Ford Estate takes on a new look in the winter snows. The Haven Hill Natural area has a whole new feel to it as you walk the trails.

The animal population is diverse and healthy in the Natural area. Wandering around this section of the Park you will see much activity. Look for animal tracks and the many signs of activity along the trails.

Up on Haven Hill, the Ford Estate is always an amazing place to visit. The winter snows only further intrigue one to explore and wonder just how things where almost 90 years ago when the Estate was a bussling place.

Stop in to the web site and download a Map of the trails and Ford Estate at Haven Hill, and spend a wonderful afternoon exploring nature and history together.

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