Oakland County is getting state's newest off-road vehicle park. What should its name be?
(FOX 2) - Michigan's highest concentration of registered off-road vehicle (ORV) users are found in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb Counties.
According to a 2010 report, 11,626 ORV licenses sold in Michigan came from Oakland County - the highest proportion in the state.
So why is there no off-road vehicle park in southeast Michigan? By next year, there will be.
In 2020, a 113-acre-park will be ready for motorcycles, ATV's and other ORVs will be shredding the landscape - a project that's been a long time coming.
"It's been probably 30 to 40 years in the making after realizing it would be a great idea to have an off-road facility in southeast Michigan," said Dan Stencil, executive officer of the Oakland County Parks and Recreation.
The biggest issues with finding a suitable location for an ORV park are the effects on neighboring properties. Michigan's newest ORV park will be squeezed between I-75 and Dixie highway. It'll come with rolling hills and sand climbs, as well as a few trees that will dot the rugged landscape.
Currently, the closest ORV park is in Genesee county - hours from the thousands of registered riders near Detroit. This new park will be the first to open in southeast Michigan.
State data is showing its about time for an ORV park in the area too. According to 2005 U.S. Forest Service data, almost 15 million Michigan residents over 16 participated in ORV recreation from 1995 to 2004 - the sixth highest participation in the U.S..
“In 2015, our draft business plan for the park noted that in the past 10 years, there had been an overall upward trend in ORV license purchases,” wrote Melissa Prowse, a supervisor at Oakland County in an email.
The DNR and Oakland County will run the park - which is expected to double in size to 235 acres in three to four years.
“Most people support and use parks. They don't care who is providing them,” Stencil said. “Whether it's the DNR, Oakland County, cities, villages, it doesn't matter. They just want clean and safe enjoyable family recreation.”
With resources to keep the park running and plans for its future, state officials still have an important question they're asking: What should this outdoor park be called?
That's where the public comes in.
The DNR website reads “An important part of the planning process includes naming the new park, and we want to know what you think. Share your good ideas by April 26.” Anyone interested in providing their input can click here for more information.
“It'll be interested to see the depth and breadth of the suggestions,” Stencil said. “It's like having you're first child. You want to have a name before its born.”