Watkins Lake State Park and County Preserve
Michigan's newest state park is jointly managed with the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission. Defined by its scenic lake, which inspires the serene setting the park is known for, Watkins Lake State Park and County Preserve features a popular, 5-mile walking trail, excellent bird watching and gorgeous views that keep photographers coming back.
Due to important bird habitat, the lake and surrounding park property is a designated waterfowl refuge and is closed Feb. 15 to May 15 and Sept. 1 to Jan. 1. The refuge area is marked in red on the map; however, wildlife viewing is available along Arnold Road.
The trailhead for the park's 5-mile linear trail is located in the parking lot. Plans to extend the trail from Manchester to Brooklyn are underway.
The park now also will be recognized for its connection to the Underground Railroad. The National Park Service recently accepted Watkins Lake State Park and County Preserve, into the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. The designation places the site in a permanent database that includes sites, facilities and programs that have a verifiable association to the Underground Railroad.
The park is located 15 miles from Jackson and 25 miles from Ann Arbor.
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