Saturday, October 15, 2011 by Kelli Barrett/News Herald
The completion of a Downriver greenway trail is cause for celebration at Humbug Marsh .
The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge will celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week with the completion of a greenway trail that links Lake Erie Metropark in Brownstown Township to the marsh, which is in Trenton and Gibraltar. The event will include crafts and other activities, family friendly hikes, refreshments and bike inspections.
“We want to celebrate experiencing nature,” said Jamie Lanier, the refuge’s visitors’ services manager. “We want to encourage people to get outside and explore.
“It is also a way to work with partners and thank staff and volunteers.”
The trail, which can be used for biking and hiking, has been in the works for about a year and is part of Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative, a community effort that wants to link Downriver communities through nonmotorized pathways. The trail is now part of 50 continuous miles of greenway trails.
“Linking two units of the refuge is helping to connect the Downriver region,” Lanier said.
The event will begin at Lake Erie Metropark, 32481 W. Jefferson Ave., at 9 a.m. The metropark’s $5 vehicle entry fee will be waived for those participating in the event. Participants also can travel from the Gil Talbert Community Center, 29340 S. Gibraltar Road, Gibraltar, to Humbug Marsh, which is a four-mile trip, as opposed to eight miles from Lake Erie Metropark. The marsh’s entrance is at 5437 W. Jefferson Ave., Trenton.
Festivities will start at 10:30 a.m.
“It will be like a carnival,” Lanier said.
The celebration will begin with a dedication ceremony of the trail and then turn into a party with food, crafts, scavenger hunts, information booths and more. Photos with the refuge’s mascot, a blue goose, will be offered. Healthy snacks like apples, granola, raisins and water will be served.
The free event is family friendly.
The refuge’s urban location makes it a unique place, Lanier said.
“Thousands of acres have been set aside to preserve nature, and we should enjoy it,” she said.
It’s the only international wildlife refuge in the United States. It spans more than 48 miles of Detroit River and Lake Erie shoreline that includes coastal wetlands, islands, marshes, shoals and waterfront lands.
Humbug Marsh is 410 acres of unaltered wetlands. It has some of the last unaltered U.S. wetlands in the Detroit River. In Humbug Marsh are three miles of trail, two wildlife observation decks, a wetland boardwalk and an environmental education shelter, and it is home to more than a hundred animal species and 90 plant species.
Lake Erie Metropark is more than 1,000 acres with three miles of Lake Erie shoreline and includes a Marshland Museum, kayaking and fishing, and is home to more than 300 bird species. It also has a hawk watch program.
Humbug Marsh is only open to the public during educational and special events. One of the reasons is that the refuge staff is so small — there are only four full-time employees. The staff offices are on Grosse Ile because the refuge doesn’t have a visitor or information center yet.
“We’re still really in our infancy,” Lanier said of the refuge.
A visitor center is under construction on 44 acres next to Humbug Marsh.