Sterling State Park reopens to public: MI

Article Posted: June 09, 2003

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Sterling State Park reopens to public

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today proclaimed Wm. C. Sterling State
Park in Monroe "The gateway to Southeast Michigan recreation,"
concluding a $17 million renovation and officially reopening the park to
the public.

The Governor addressed scores of area residents and visitors at the
park dedication, flanked by federal, state, and local leaders. Sterling
was among the stops on the final day of Granholm's week-long tour to
promote tourism in Michigan. Park entrance fees were waived for the day.

"This is a historic day for Michigan families," Granholm said. "As I've
toured Michigan for the past week, I've seen at every stop the warm,
welcoming spirit of our residents and unique recreation opportunities
that make Michigan a popular tourism destination throughout the region
and the nation. The people of Monroe take visible pride in their state
park, and the improvements here exemplify Michigan's goal of being a
world-class destination for family recreation."

In its original condition, the park attracted more than a million
visitors annually. Department of Natural Resources Director K.L. Cool
said Sterling's renovation -- the most comprehensive state park
improvement project in Michigan history -- is the new "gold standard"
for Michigan's 97 state parks.

Improvements to the park include:
* Moving the entire campground to the south end of the park. The old
campground is restored as a Great Lakes wetland and Lakeplain prairie,
and the new campground features beach views, a unique new design, and
256 modern campsites on 47 acres.
* Elevated causeway leading into the park facilities. The traditional
causeway was subject to flooding. The problem was solved by raising the
road 7 feet, using 200,000 cubic yards of fill dirt.
* New linear trails throughout the park, with a focus on making
facilities fully accessible.
* Three fishing piers in the lagoon areas, with a focus on deeper water
access for anglers.
* Renovated Boating Access Site, dedicated to former Natural Resources
Commissioner Jerry C. Bartnik, featuring 250 parking spaces and a fish
cleaning station for successful Lake Erie anglers.
* A pedestrian bridge, linking the day-use area to the marsh trail.
* New landscaping, with a strong focus on restoring native species.
* Complete renovation of the day use area, with a total of 1,500
parking spaces throughout, three picnic shelters and two restroom

Cool noted that future work at Sterling includes providing a paved,
non-motorized trail connecting the city, the park's marsh trail, and
Monroe's historic 1812 battlefield.

Expansion of Sterling's park office resulted in the availability of a
DNR field office in nearby Bolles Harbor. Through an agreement between
the DNR and Monroe Public Schools, that building will be converted into
a lakeshore science laboratory where students will learn about Great
Lakes ecosystems.

"Our broader goal at this state park uniquely represents an effort to
link the park to Monroe's historic and present culture, its children's
educational experience, and the area's unique wetland ecosystem," Cool

"This remarkable feat was a team project that produced a partnership
between the DNR, the Department of History, Arts and Libraries, and the
business and government leaders of this community," he added. "I'm proud
of what we have accomplished here, and I look forward to this
partnership continuing to produce great things for the community and its

Sterling's campground is available to campers on a first-come,
first-serve basis until July 4, when it is once again available on the
DNR Campground Reservation System

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