New Cedar Creek Trail to Be Featured at Haven Hill Festival on Saturday, August 29

HHF 2015 Logo

Highland State Recreation Area’s New Cedar Creek Trail at Haven Hill Festival

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Come walk, jog, ride a bike, or bring your horse to the new Cedar Creek Trail on August 29th

In addition to the Haven Hill Historic Structures, Model A Ford cars, Vintage Base Ball game, History and Art Displays, and Summer Foods and Fun, the new Cedar Creek Trail at Highland State Recreation Area will be featured at the 2015 Haven Hill Festival.  The beautiful Cedar Creek hiking, biking, and equestrian trail is a wonderful addition to the Haven Hill section of Highland State Recreation Area in White Lake, Michigan.

Cedar Creek Trail Sign Deer Flickr FOHRA-2   Cedar Creek Trail Sign Owls Flickr FOHRA-1

Come out to the Haven Hill Festival on Saturday, August 29 between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm and enjoy a day in Your state park. Use the new Cedar Creek Trail to go to and from Edsel and Eleanor Ford’s historic Haven Hill Gate House and the main Festival grounds at Goose Meadow.

For more Festival information go to:

FOHRA Friends Logo Transparent PNG

The Haven Hill Festival is an alcohol-free, family-oriented event in its 7th year at Highland State Recreation Area. The Festival is organized by the volunteer members of the Friends of Highland Recreation Area.  The celebration has grown yearly, and will continue to be enjoyed by local residents as well as the surrounding communities, now and into the future.

The Haven Hill section of Highland State Recreation Area is entered via the main gate at 5200 Highland Road (M-59) between Duck Lake and Bogey Lake roads. The Festival is provided to the public at no charge, and entry into the state park is now via the Recreation Passport on your license plate.

Haven Hill Festival at Highland Recreation Area on Saturday, August 29

HHF 2015 Logo

The annual Haven Hill Festival coming at the end of the month. Make sure to save the date Saturday, August 29, from 10 am until 3:00 pm to come to Highland State Recreation Area. Vintage base ball, Model A Ford car show, history of Haven Hill, and summer foods and beverage for everyone!

Head on over to the Friends of Highland Recreation Area website for more information…

Haven Hill – The Edsel & Eleanor Ford Family Farm Estate The Untold Story

HHOperaHousePoster HEADER WebIn the 1920’s Henry Ford visited and spoke at the Howell Opera House. Related and virtually unknown is the fascinating story of his only son Edsel and his wife Eleanor who, in 1923, embarked on the creation of a 2,300 acre working farm state on present day M-59 just east of Livingston County. They named their farm estate Haven Hill. For some 20-23 years Edsel, Eleanor, and their four children – Henry II, Benson, Josephine, & William Clay (past owner of Detroit Lions), enjoyed Haven Hill as a refuge and retreat. Edsel tragically died in 1943 at the young age of 49 years and the estate was passed on, by his wife Eleanor, to the Michigan Department of Conservation (today Mich. Dept.

of Natural Resources).

On Wednesday April 29, at 7 pm, the Haven Hill story will fittingly be told at the Howell Opera House with a presentation by the Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA).

Come learn of the estate architecture and unique landscape setting plus hear of the
estates many world famous guests and visitors such as Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Thomas Edison, Admiral Byrd who first flew over the North and South Poles, and the Duke of Windsor from England’s Royal Family just to name a few. The evening will include a very entertaining video presentation of the history of Haven Hill and an update on accomplishments to date and future plans. Also on display, for
one night only, will be select nature photographs of the area plus a fine art portrait series paying tribute to the people of Haven Hill.

Date: April 29, 2015
Location: Howell Opera House 123 W. Grand River, Howell MI
Time: Doors open at 7:00 PM Program Starts 7:30 PM
Admission is free – Public Welcome

For more information & contacts:
Dick Russell – Friends of Highland Recreation Area
Phone: Cell: 248-563-7428 Email:
Sharon Fisher – Howell Opera House
Phone: 517-294-7562 Email:


Snow Snake Race Sunday at 1:00 pm

There is a Snow Snake Race on Sunday, February 8, 2015 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at the Edsel Ford Barn this coming weekend.  Come out and enjoy seeing the kids race their snakes!

Snow Snake Event at HRA - January 2013

Snow Snake Migration Expected to Return to Highland State Recreation Area This Winter

The Friends of Highland Recreation Area and the Chief Pontiac Trail Committee of the Boy Scouts of America are expecting the annual Snow Snake migration to return to Highland Recreation Area in February of 2015. Snow Snake season typically begins each year as the snow depth reaches 3 to 5 inches, although a covering of even an inch has been enough to afford some lucky folks a sighting of a few of these amazing winter reptiles. A snake watching event is planned for Sunday, February 8, 2015 near the Edsel Ford Barn in Highland/White Lake, Michigan.

A “hot spot” for sightings every year at Highland State Recreation Area seems to be around the historic Edsel Ford Barn. Both adults and children enjoy seeing the snow snakes. See the information flyer HERE.  And a great “How To” video below…

For a truly unique experience in the outdoors come and see the Snakes at the Edsel Ford Barn on February 8, 2015.

Chief Pontiac Trail Committee site for this great activity HERE.

New Cedar Creek Trail at Highland State Recreation Area is Nearing Completion

Cedar Creek Trail 090114-DSC_3122

During the snowy and wet spring season of 2014, many Highland State Recreation Area park-goers in Highland/White Lake, Michigan thought that a new and improved Haven Hill Road was being cut through the hillsides and forests of their favorite outdoor place. The recreation area’s roads do need a lot or work, to say the least, and a new road was a natural conclusion to some who saw the bulldozers and excavators clearing a wide path from the Haven Hill Gate House at the entrance to the park, all the way back to Teeple Lake. But what everyone was actually witnessing at the time was the initial construction phase of the new Cedar Creek Trail.

Cedar Creek Trail 072114-Gate House Aerial 072014 27 072014

Above: The Cedar Creek Trail circles back onto itself  at M-59 near the entrance to Highland State Recreation Area. The Friends of Highland Recreation Area volunteers are excited about the trails’ path through the historic Haven Hill Gate House.

At approximately 2.4 miles in length from M-59 to its’ terminous in the south at Teeple Lake, the trail winds through most of the north to south length of the Haven Hill section of Highland State Recreation Area. Hikers, bikers, and equestrians will all be able to enjoy portions of the trail during all seasons.

Cedar Creek Trail Map Google

Above: A Google Map shows the circuitous north to south path of the new Cedar Creek Trail at Highland State Recreation Area in Oakland County, Michigan. The trail closely follows Haven Hill and Moraine Roads. Safety and emergency access considerations were kept in mind during the trail’s early design stages.

Cedar Creek Trail Pic 2014

Above: The initial phases of the Cedar Creek Trail were began in the late winter and early spring 2014.

The first clearings of timber and soil were quite shocking and disturbing for nature enthusiasts and many of Highland State Recreation Area forest “regulars”. The  width of the trail clearing was considerable, and watching the established trees being plucked from the ground by the giant and powerful machinery was difficult indeed. The heavy work combined with the sparseness of the forest in the early part of the season made for some fairly gruesome images of the “progress”.

Cedar Creek Trail Pic 032414-NIKON D7000707Above: Continued early spring 2014 construction of the new Cedar Creek Trail at Highland State Recreation Area in Highland/White Lake, Michigan.

During the summer months, construction crews scraped and sculpted the trail and prepared it for a layer of fill material and eventually a topcoat of compacted crushed granite.

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Throughout the last several weeks leading up to fall, the new pedestrian and equestrian (some portions) trail has been developed from it’s rough beginnings into a much more pleasant project in final stages of completion. In August, the new trail was even run through the Haven Hill Gate House and now circles up around the front of the park near M-59 (Highland Road) on its way back over itself to the rear of the park.

Cedar Creek Trail 060414-IMG_1425Above: The trail with initial fill material being laid through the historic former entrance to Edsel and Eleanor Ford’s Haven Hill Gate House.

Cedar Creek Trail 072014-DSC_9407Above: At the entrance to the park the new trail replicates the original road into Haven Hill. The Friends of Highland Recreation Area volunteer organization had found the evidence of the original entrance road under the front lawn’s sod form many years ago.

Below: The Livingston A’s model A Ford driving club were able to drive on the new trail with special permission during the Haven Hill Festival last August. Edsel and Eleanor Ford would have been proud to see the Model A’s rumbling through their once grand country estate entrance.

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The Cedar Creel trail has portions that skirt the edge or even cross wetland areas. New decking has been installed to minimize impact on the landscape. The deck will also provide a nice view to the east.

Cedar Creek Trail 091314-DSC_4311Above: The new deck under construction along the Cedar Creek wetlands near the entrance to the Haven Hill Section of Highland State Recreation Area. This new wetland crossing will afford a beautiful view to trail-goers that was previously an obstructed roadside horizon.

Cedar Creek Trail 091314-IMG_3735Above: The late summer trickle of Cedar Creek can been be seen heading off to the southeast under the new decking along Haven Hill Road just past the park entrance.

Below: The new deck and creek crossing nearing completion.

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Some sections of the trail have guardrails installed (see photos above and below) for safety, as well as fences in order to minimize intrusion on the landscape.

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The trail construction project has now obviously run up against an early frigid and snowy start to the 2014/2015 winter. Completion may have to come next spring if work is further hampered due to weather. The Friends of Highland Recreation Area will host their annual Redbud Reveal season-opening event on Saturday, May 9, 2015 that will feature the new Cedar Creek Trail in the Spring.

HRA SNow Deer

Jay Fitzgerald


Friends of Highland Recreation Area

December 2014

2014 FOHRA Annual Meeting is Next Wednesday Night

2014 Friends of Highland Recreation Area Annual Meeting

Wednesday, November 5, 7:00 pm

It’s that time of year again… for Fall colors and pumpkins and cider mills and the Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA) Annual Meeting!

The 2014 FOHRA Annual Meeting and Social will be held on Wednesday, November 5, at the White Lake Township Community Building.  Come and bring friends or family members, to 7500 Highland Road (M-59) across from the White Lake Township Hall. Appetizers and light beverages will be served at 6:30 pm. The formal meeting and presentations start at 7:00 pm and wrap up around 8:30.

This year’s meeting highlights will include aerial video footage from high above Haven Hill’s historic structures and landscapes, as well as other special information and displays. Please attend for a great evening with Highland State Recreation Area and Haven Hill enthusiasts!”


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