How the Metroparks are Making it Big on Labor Day

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Labor Day is a time for relaxation, family and of course the day off work. Some people use this time to relax at home, but more people use this day to spend time at the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, picnicking, swimming and golfing with friends and family.

Ever since the Metroparks were founded in 1940, they have strived to create a safe and relaxing place for park goers of the community to enjoy. With three districts that span through the heart of Metro-Detroit, there are endless opportunities for fun.

Lower Huron, Willow and Oakwoods Metroparks are three of the 13 Metroparks in the Huron-Clinton Authority. Located in Belleville and New Boston, Michigan, its pools, picnicking areas, golf course and trails are what keep people coming back, even on Labor Day.

Jessica Zechel of Plymouth said she’s been coming to the parks on Labor Day ever since she can remember.

“It’s kind of like a tradition… I always look forward to coming to the parks with my family and using that time to just relax,” Zechel said.

Even employees at the Metroparks spend their time there off the clock. Operations clerk and native New Bostoner Sam Keller said that her time at the park doesn’t just stop when she’s off the clock.

“Even though I work here and spend a lot of time in the parks, I love to spend my time off running in the parks, going to the golf course at Willow, and playing volleyball, especially on a day like Labor Day,” Keller said.

Holly Clegg has spent over 20 Labor Days at the parks, with her current position being park manager. She says that Labor Day is always one of the busiest and hectic times of the summer.

Located in Lower Huron Metropark, Turtle Cove Family Aquatic Center is a popular amenity, as the line on Labor Day was up to an hour wait even before it opened at noon. Park patrons started lining up hours before it opened.

“In Michigan, Labor Day is like the unofficial end of the summer… It’s one last hurrah to get out to the parks, get out to the pools, and get one last golf game in,” Clegg said.

With temperatures soaring into the 90s this Labor Day, the parks saw a rise in attendance not only compared to this summer, but from past Labor Days as well. Compared to Labor Day in 2022, park attendance across all three parks reached close to a 25% increase, seeing an even higher increase of swimmers at the pool.

These record numbers brought in upwards of $46,000 on Labor Day, with Lower Hurons Turtle Cove Aquatic Center accounting for over half of the park revenue. This revenue not only gets reallocated back into operations, but goes into funding future projects and improvements for the park.

Clegg said that all of the park managers from the different parks create a list of things that need improvement or renovation and then the administrative office approves certain projects for the year. A recent project the parks took on was relocating and building a new park office in February of this year.

The budgets for all of the parks are currently being evaluated and will be sent in October, and from there the administrative office will approve the budget and projects that the parks will be allowed to take on.

For Labor Day, this means new park amenities as well as improvements on existing ones as well. For more information on the parks like event schedules, trail maps, and reservation portals for camping and picnicking, go to

“I like hearing from what [the community] likes, what’s working, what we’re doing…so just speak out and tell us what you feel,” Clegg said.

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