Washtenaw County Parks Summer 2020 Status Update

Washtenaw County Parks Summer 2020 – What’s Open, What’s Closed, What’s Canceled

Washtenaw County Parks has an update on their Summer of 2020 Status with details on their water parks, park facilities, day camps, and events.


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What’s Currently Open

Park Trails & Parking Lots

The Washtenaw County Parks are currently open for trails and activities that maintain social distancing. The vehicle entrances and parking lots at Rolling Hills and Independence Lake* have reopened.

  • Independence Lake is closed for Memorial Day Weekend due to anticipated heavy crowds.

Disc Golf

Disc Golf is open at Independence Lake & Rolling HIlls. Be sure to maintain social distancing while playing. There is a maximum of 3 people on a hole and keep 6 feet between people. Any shot within the 10′ circle is considered a “gimme” to decrease contact with the basket.

At Independence Park, disc golfers should park in the Blue Heron Bay parking lot.

Note: Independence Lake is closed for Memorial Day Weekend due to anticipated heavy crowds.

Swift Run Dog Park

Swift Run Dog Park opened on May 8. Please use gloves when opening and closing the gates.

Golf

The Pierce Lake Golf Course in Chelsea opened on May 1. Tee Times are limited to enforce social distancing. They also only accept credit cards. Motorized carts are allowed with one golfer per cart. They are making exceptions for members of a household to share a cart.

Independence Lake Beach

The Beach at Independence Lake reopened on June 5, 2020. The park is operating at 60% capacity. They expect that they will have to close park admission at times on hot days.


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Opening Date Announced

Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center – June 14

Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center is currently scheduled to open on June 14. This was delayed from an original estimate of June 1. I would expect similar restrictions to the ones they initially announced for a June 1 opening

Some new guidelines in place will include; access for members only the first month, limited equipment access, and proper sanitation efforts.

WASHTENAW COUNTY PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION

Playgrounds – June 12

Playgrounds have been closed since mid-March. They will reopen on June 12. Please remember to social distance on the playgrounds. Also, they will not be sanitized.. If you still wish to avoid the playground, check out our Playground Free Walks for suggestions on outdoor walks that won’t include a playground.

Washtenaw County Parks - Child on Swings
Photo Credit: Brian Mitchell

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Closed for 2020

Rolling Hills Water Park

Rolling Hills Water Park is closed for Summer 2020. We love Rolling Hills and usually visit a few times a summer. We will miss it this year, but agree that it wuold be hard to maintain safe social distancing at the park..

Rolling Hills Water Park at Rolling Hills County Park and Blue Heron Bay Spray Park at Independence Lake County Park, operated by Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission (WCPARC), will be closed for the summer. 

Social distancing cannot be achieved by swimmers in a wave pool or other water attractions, according to Rhonda Bouma, Superintendent at Rolling Hills County Park. WCPARC made this decision with input from both staff and the Washtenaw County Health Department. 

Water attractions like the wave pool and lazy river at Rolling Hills Water Park, are popular with swimmers who lounge on inflatable tubes in close proximity to one another while the currents and wave action make it impossible to maintain proper social distancing. “The safety and well-being of our patrons is always our most important consideration.  We explored multiple avenues of getting the facility open for the season, but in each scenario, we were unable to ensure the safety of our staff and guests,” Bouma said.

“This would have been our 30th season of operation, and we always look forward to summer season. It was an extremely difficult decision to make, but it was the right one to help keep our community members safe,” Bouma said. The Washtenaw County and Recreation Commission agreed that closing the water park for the 2020 season was a tough decision to make, but with the spread of COVID-19, the health and wellness of the community is top priority.

Washtenaw County Parks & RecrEation COmmission
Rolling Hills Water Park
Photo Credit: Brian Mitchell

Blue Heron Bay at Independence Lake

Blue Heron Bay at Independence Lake offers a splash playground with a slide tower. They have had mechanical issues the last few years and they are not opening due to these ongoing issues.

Rolling Hills Water Park at Rolling Hills County Park and Blue Heron Bay Spray Park at Independence Lake County Park, operated by Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission (WCPARC), will be closed for the summer. 

Blue Heron Bay Spray Park was set to close for the 2020 season due to infrastructure issues and much needed repairs, and the decision was made in April to close for the season. 

WASHTENAW COUNTY PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION

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Day Camp

Washtenaw County Parks typically operates day camps throughout the region. These camps will not be opening in 2020. They have camps at Independence Lake, Rolling Hills, Meri Lou Murray Rec Center, and Playground Camp at several parks in Ypsilanti.

Summer Day Camp - Fishing
Photo Credit: Brian Mitchell

Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission voted at its monthly commission meeting on May 12, to cancel summer day camp programs at Rolling Hills, Independence Lake, the Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center and the Ypsilanti-based Playground Camp for the 2020 season. 

This decision was not made lightly and as Commissioner, Dan Ezekiel said at the meeting, “it was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make while serving as a Commissioner for Washtenaw County Parks.” 

Washtenaw County Parks feels responsible for the well-being of the children of our community, and the ability to provide them with quality programming in a safe environment. Staff have explored every possible way to run camp safely and effectively before making this tough decision. However, with the spread of COVID-19 health and wellness must be the top priority. It is with heavy hearts that summer camp programming is canceled. 

“We look forward to summer camp as much as our campers, but our priority is protecting the health and safety of everyone in our local communities,” said Rhonda Bouma, Park Superintendent at Rolling Hills County Park.

Those who have already registered for the camps will receive a full refund or credit for the 2021 season.

Washtenaw County Parks staff are currently working on developing virtual programs and resources for campers. They anticipate the launch of some of these programs and resources by June 15 and will be offering opportunities to engage with camp curriculum throughout the summer. 

WASHTENAW COUNTY PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION

Are you looking for an alternative camp for this summer? Our Summer Camp Guide lists options – although camps are still announcing cancellations for summer 2020.

Ann Arbor Summer Camp Guide

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Still Closed

Some outdoor facilities are currently closed and will remain that way until further notice.

Shelters, Pavilions, Picnic Tables, and Benches

Shelters and Pavilions (including bathrooms) have been closed since mid-March. Picnic Tables and Benches are also off limits They will remain closed until it is deemed safe to reopen them.


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Events

Events are canceled through the end of May. This includes Nature Programs and Stewardship Volunteer Opportunities. They will update on events in June and byeond.

Additionally events at the water parks are also canceled as those facilities are closed. This includes the Special Needs Swim and Splash Days and the Doggy Dip in the fall.

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