County parks prepare for season
ARENAC COUNTY — The county parks will soon be gearing up for a new season, which will begin May 29, the Friday before Memorial Day.
Arenac County Parks Board Chairman Ronald Branda said there will be some changes to the way parks operate this year.
“Oasis Lake is where the biggest changes will be,” he said.
Branda said Oasis Lake will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays until July 4, at the earliest.
AuGres’ operation will remain the same as last year, which means there will be no gate attendant on duty from Monday to Wednesday, although camping is always available by reservation.
Branda also said that one of the park employees will be doing extra work to try and promote events at the parks in an attempt to increase park attendance.
The 2009 attendance and revenue for the parks was up slightly from 2008, but Branda said the board still had to use about $6,000 of general fund money in order to balance the budget.
This amount of money is an improvement from 2008, when the board had to use about $16,000 of general fund money.
“It’s still not supporting itself entirely,” Branda said.
AuGres County Park will also be getting some help from a Boy Scout troop from the southern part of the state. The troop will be at the park May 1 and 2 to clean it up in return for some free camping later in the year.
“It’ll be quite a crowd,” Branda said, explaining that there will be around 50 people coming to help those days.
Branda said he would like to update equipment and add electricity to some campsites and pavilions if a park millage is approved.
The millage proposal will appear on the August primary election ballot and would raise approximately $56,000 in its first year if passed.
The park supervisor will be in the parks May 10 to prepare them for opening, and park employees will be preparing for opening day a week in advance.
Current daily rates for the county parks are $5 per car for county residents, $7 per car for non-county residents and $3 for those who walk into the park or ride a bike. Yearly passes are also available for $30.