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Is Pontiac Lake Rec. Area History ?

Discussion in 'Sound Off (' started by PrtyMolusk, Nov 5, 2003.

  1. PrtyMolusk

    PrtyMolusk Mods

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    Keego Harbor

    My wife just called to tell me that a front-page story in today's Oakland Press quotes Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson as saying the idea of SELLING Pontiac Lake Recreation Area has crossed his mind.

    As a newbie to the area I may be wrong, but I believe that is the last hunk of hunting land open to the public in Oakland County.

    Time to let our voices be heard! I'm heading to The Oakland for further info.... :mad:
  2. PrtyMolusk

    PrtyMolusk Mods

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    Keego Harbor

    OK, here's the article. I feel a bit better after reading it, however I am still very concerned that they would even concider something so hare-brained....We should still let LBP know our feelings.....


    November 5, 2003
    The mere suggestion that Oakland County and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources might be talking about transferring ownership or control of the Pontiac Lake State Recreation Area is enough to upset some residents.

    "We have fears that it won't be maintained, as it is now, in a more rustic state," said Todd Scott, executive director of the Michigan Mountain Biking Association and a Rochester resident. "They (county parks) tend to be more developed, have golf courses, be fenced in."

    But while Oakland County might someday want to add Pontiac Lake to its parks system, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said any transfer, whether by sale or lease, is not imminent.

    "It's a glint in my eye but nothing more," he said. "The idea has surfaced, but there's been no movement toward a transfer."

    Dan Stencil, operations administrator for Oakland County Parks, said there's been "not really anything

    formal. There have been some brief preliminary conversations in terms of getting some information, becoming familiar with the property."

    Brad Wurfel, a DNR spokesman, reiterated that nothing formal has passed between the state and the county.

    "We are aware that the county has expressed an interest in the possibility of an arrangement to manage that area," he said. "That's not to say that it's a shared interest, and that's not to say anything formal is afoot."

    According to Scott and Waterford Township resident Elden Montross, president of the Friends of Pontiac Lake, at least two Oakland County residents had contacted state Sen. Deborah Cherry to ask for her support in leasing the recreation area to Oakland County for 50 years.

    That led to a meeting last week between Cherry and a delegation of concerned residents, including representatives of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Oakland County Sportsmen's Association, property owners, equestrian groups and a model airplane group.

    "Concerned residents have talked to me about this, and I basically said that I'm not going to be supportive of anything that the community doesn't support," she said.

    Both Patterson and Stencil said the state is exploring options to reduce the costs of operating parks and recreation areas.

    But, regardless of budget problems, said Cherry, "the state would never agree to sell any of that land - bottom line."

    There has been no discussion of leasing the park to the county, she said.

    "That land would never go, would never be turned over to Oakland County in terms of actually owning or Oakland County being able to use it for anything other than a park," she said.

    Montross and Scott both said one of the concerns is that activities currently allowed in the recreation area would be taboo if the county took over.

    "We want everybody to use the park that's using it now," said Montross.

    That includes hunters, mountain bikers and horse enthusiasts.

    "We got a good park out there," said Montross. "It's cheap and got a good beach. It's one of the only horse parks around."

    Stencil, while emphasizing that nothing formal is in the works, said deed restrictions would likely preserve all current recreational opportunities at Pontiac Lake - including hunting - if the county ever took over management.

    Wurfel said the DNR does work with partners at parks and recreation areas.

    "A good one that would be local to your readers is Maybury State Park (in Northville), where we recently struck an agreement with local interests to rebuild a historic barn and living farm," he said.

    He said the DNR's primary interest in managing parks and recreation areas is to do what's best for residents.

    "Even, hypothetically, if we were to entertain any lease agreement with any county ... the opportunities available on that parcel would not be diminished," he said. "If anything, they would be enhanced."

    The Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority - which manages 13 metroparks in southeastern Michigan, including the Indian Springs Metropark adjacent to Pontiac Lake - also is apparently looking at the recreation area with an eye to managing the property. The Huron-Clinton authority had floated a similar proposal in 1993.

    "It's the same as Oakland County," said Wurfel. "I'm aware of an interest expressed, but nothing formal has been offered and, obviously, the same rules would apply as the previous scenario."


    ©The Oakland Press 2003
    consider consider

  3. Chris_Davis


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    Lansing, MI
    This situation arose from some folks (including
    former State Rep. Mike Kowall) involved with the Quake on the Lake
    hydroplane race that's held at Pontiac Lake. Apparently they are
    frustrated with the DNR for not waiving the park entry fees, having an
    exclusive food concessionaire at the park, and more. They want the park
    leased to the County, where they'd have more freedom to run their event as
    they desire. The event is hosted by the Lion's Club and it certainly
    doesn't hurt that L. Brooks Patterson is an active member.

    I also suspect that there are two other motivations lurking in the
    background. First, the County wants to expand the airport, which requires
    acquiring more DNR land. (I've heard an expanded runway means the
    PLRA beach would then become part of the designated crash zone.)

    Second, there has been discussion and tentative plans to continue Williams
    Lake Road north of Gale Road directly through the park. This would mean a
    sizeable loss of parkland as well as more road noise.