Canton Township officials are pleased to announce that the Zibiwés Nature Area has been established at the Canton park property located on the northwest corner of Ford Road and Ridge Road, formerly known as Patriot Park or Ridge Road Park.
On May 23, the Canton Township Board of Trustees approved this Nature Area designation to preserve and protect the open space, natural habitats, and green space of the 134 acres of undeveloped woodlands and wetlands located on the northwest section of the Canton community, that are home to many native plants and animal habitats.
As the Township Board remains committed to paying homage to previous land inhabitants dating back prior to European settlement, members collaborated with the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Indians Representatives Outreach Board on name recommendations, as well as the acquisition of cultural and heritage resources and information.
“Many thanks to Senator Debbie Stabenow for putting us in touch with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indian Representatives Outreach Board,” said Canton Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak.
“The group, after much research and study of the area, which included review of maps, Fellows Creek, foliage, and animals on the 134 acres, recommended the name of Zibiwés, which means creek. The name is very appropriate, as the south branch of Fellows Creek runs through the entire park space.”
Small percentage for active recreation
This commitment to protecting the natural environment within the Canton community for the enjoyment of all, as well as for future generations, remains a top priority for the Canton Board and area residents.
To this end, Canton officials also adopted an amendment to Chapter 50 of the Canton Code of Ordinances for Parks and Recreation to allow for the creation of a “Nature Area” which would enable only 10% of a new Nature Area to be designated for active recreation.
For the newly established Zibiwés Nature Area, this would allow only a 13-acre portion of the property to be developed into an active park.
Future arboretum anticipated
Future plans include the development of recreational amenities near the east entrance, as well as establishing a framework for a nature preserve and future arboretum.
Canton’s Board also looks forward to incorporating accessible trails, parking, and a nature-themed playground into the Zibiwés Nature Area.
To add these enhancements, the Township has secured $1 million in funding with the help of U. S. Rep. Haley Stevens (MI-11) and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell in the December 2022 omnibus spending package.
Additionally, the Canton Township Board has identified a matching $1 million additional dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act appropriation for this parcel to help cultivate a public space.
To assist with the development of natural amenities within the Zibiwés Nature Area, as well as to help identify potential green spaces for future preservation, Canton has also established the Canton Nature Society. Canton residents who are interested in supporting the Nature Society may reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twenty-three years in the making
Land for the Zibiwés Nature Area was purchased in 2000 with grant funds from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. As part of Canton Township’s 2021 planning process, a new vision for the future design of this property was articulated by the community, calling for a largely passive and natural park area.
Zibiwés Nature Area, located on the northwest corner of Ford and Ridge Roads at 6125 N. Ridge Road in Canton, MI 48187, is currently comprised of undeveloped land where visitors to this rustic park can take advantage of a half-mile crushed gravel trail, from dawn until dusk. For more information about the Zibiwés Nature Area or any Canton Park, visit www.cantonfun.org or call 734/394-5360.
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