MASON COUNTYRecreation Plan: 2013-2017 – DRAFT (October 10, 2012)                                    prepared by the      ...
Mason County                          Recreation Plan: 2013-2017Board of CommissionersLewis Squires – Chair               ...
Table of Contents   I.    Introduction ......................................................................................
IntroductionThis Recreation Plan is a guide for action. Mason County endeavors to fulfill the changingrecreational needs o...
component to this plan, and, together, the voices of Mason County have united to developa recreation plan to enhance the q...
Community DescriptionMason County is located on the shore of Lake Michigan in central lower Michigan, atapproximately 44° ...
Mason County Figure 1: Mason County is located in central lower Michigan on Lake Michigan. (Data: Michigan Geographic Data...
and the dunes at Ludington State Park. Small wetlands dot the landscape. Many otherwetlands in the agricultural areas were...
is very important to these seasonal residents that those facilities and resources by preservedand maintained.Income The me...
Administrative StructureThe Mason County Parks and Recreation Commission is a 10-member body established asprovided by sta...
the Campground and Picnic Area. Volunteers provide crucial support to many programsand activities in the county. The Commi...
Recreation Commission that guaranteed, beginning in 2000 when the 20-year lease wassigned between the county and the pumpe...
Recreation and Resource InventoriesAn inventory of the existing Mason County parks and natural resources was completedusin...
Classification of County ParksA recommended classification system for local and regional recreation open spaceincludes the...
Mason County Parks and Recreation Inventory                                                                      Acreage  ...
Mini-Parks address limited, isolated, or unique recreational needs. They are usuallybetween 2,500-square feet and one acre...
sites, and overall, improve the entire campground. Upgrades to the campground werecompleted in 2002 with the addition of f...
The Mason County Picnic Area includes a large pavilion that seats 350 people and can berented for public and private funct...
recreation sites in this area of Mason County. Figure 8 shows the general location of theInman Road Property. Figure 8: Ge...
Figure 9: General location of the Big Sauble River property, on the east side of US-31 in Free Soil Township Figure 10: Ge...
Recreation Grant HistoryMason County has received two grant from DNR-administered grant programs. In 2000,the county submi...
Other Parks and FacilitiesWithin Mason County are twenty local municipalities, which include two cities, threevillages, an...
Name of Park                                            Acreage        Ownership  Ludington Municipal Marina              ...
The following overview summarizes some of the parks and recreational facilities withinMason County that are owned and oper...
between Hamlin Lake and Lake Michigan, a camp store and restaurant, along with boatrental and launching facilities. Luding...
§    Custer Township: Ownership of primarily unimproved area on the south shore of         the Pere Marquette River about ...
Other West Shore Community College, which is located near the geographical center ofthe county in Victory Township, has ma...
Recommended                            Recommended                           County                          Public       ...
supplement to the DNR-recommended standards, data from the Sporting GoodsManufacturers Association (SGMA) is another way t...
Michigan regarding the total number of lakes and ponds within its boundaries, and ranks36th in total acreage. Figure 15 de...
¡&                                                                                                                      §¨...
Inland Lake                   Surface Area (acres)   Public Access              Allen Lake              Augustine Lake    ...
Figure 19: Map of major rivers in Mason County.Of the 251-miles of inventoried rivers and streams in Mason County, approxi...
Earlier, Figure 16 showed the location of sand dunes in the county. Some of the dunes aredesignated critical dune areas, w...
Number of Campgrounds                                          1 1                                              1         ...
Mason County Tourism Profile compiled by Michigan State University Extension showsMason County as having one of the highes...
Public InputTo comply with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Guidelines for theDevelopment of Community Park, ...
Providing Access to Online Information About the Recreation Plan Shortly after theplanning process began, an informational...
Overview of the Online Survey The online survey was made available from June 25through August 1, 2012, complete with 20 qu...
Figure 24: Age of Respondents                     “What is your age?”                    Figure 25: Household Size        ...
Question 2 asked respondents which Mason County park they have visited in the past year.Figure 27 shows that over 73% of t...
Question 4 asked respondents why they visit parks operated by Mason County. The topchoices were for casual and informal us...
how many times in the past year respondents used those disc golf courses. About 82% hadsaid they had not used them at all ...
Prioritizing Future Improvements Question 12 gathered information about the quality ofexisting Mason County parks and recr...
Recreational Participation in Mason County in General While previous questions in theonline survey focused on specific asp...
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Mason County Recreation Plan

  1. 1. MASON COUNTYRecreation Plan: 2013-2017 – DRAFT (October 10, 2012) prepared by the Mason County Parks and Recreation Commission with assistance by Spicer Group, Inc.
  2. 2. Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017Board of CommissionersLewis Squires – Chair Rich MorongJoe Lenius – Vice-Chair Thomas PosmaSusan Boes Mary NicholsRobert Erickson Curtis VanderWallCharles Lange Jeffrey BarnettParks and Recreation CommissionDonald Gall - Chair Nick MatishDavid MacClean – Vice Chair Ed McCumberDavid Hasenbank – Secretary Jeffrey SchwassSteve Begnoche Curtis VanderWallSteve Dvorak Debbie Roberts – Park ManagerBruce PattersonPrepared by:Mason CountyParks and Recreation Commission304 East Ludington AvenueLudington, MI 49431(231) 843-8202www.masoncounty.netWith assistance by:Spicer Group, Inc.230 South Washington AvenueSaginaw, MI 48607(989) 754-4717www.spicergroup.com119749SG2012
  3. 3. Table of Contents I. Introduction ............................................................................................................. 1 II. Community Description........................................................................................... 3 III. Administrative Structure ........................................................................................... 7 IV. Recreation and Resource Inventories ..................................................................... 10 V. Public Input ........................................................................................................... 34 VI. Action Program ...................................................................................................... 44VII. Planning Process .................................................................................................... 52VIII. Appendix A – Sports Participation Trends .............................................................. 54 IX. Appendix B – Public Input Documentation ........................................................... 75Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 i
  4. 4. IntroductionThis Recreation Plan is a guide for action. Mason County endeavors to fulfill the changingrecreational needs of its residents. Quality development and efficient management of itsparks and recreational facilities is a priority. To that end, this document forms the basis toguide policy for implementation of improvements and new initiatives that will meet therecreational goals and interests of the Mason County community.Before any recreation plan is adopted and enacted, it is first important to understand whatthe needs of the residents are, what recreational opportunities already exist, and what sortof projects are relevant for residents based on age, ability, population, density, and theavailability of recreational opportunities in neighboring communities. This plan, throughthe cooperation of Spicer Group and the Mason County Parks and Recreation Commission,has carefully considered input and suggestions via active communication from Countyresidents, County officials, and other community stakeholders. This input is a criticalMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 1
  5. 5. component to this plan, and, together, the voices of Mason County have united to developa recreation plan to enhance the quality of life for everyone.Broadly speaking, Mason County officials intend to use this plan to guide their work on allfuture recreational and parks projects within the county. It is also a strategic document thatarticulates specific goals to various agencies and organizations that fund local recreationaland parks improvement projects. Specifically, this plan is developed in accordance withthe guidelines for Community Park, Recreation, Open Space, and Greenway Planspublished by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). A five-year, DNR-approved recreation plan is necessary for Mason County to pursue DNR-administeredgrants.This Recreation Plan is written for a single county, Mason County. It covers all aspects ofrecreation within the community. Ludington Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Plant Reservoir. Visitors to the Mason County Picnic Area learn about theMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 2
  6. 6. Community DescriptionMason County is located on the shore of Lake Michigan in central lower Michigan, atapproximately 44° 1′ 12″ N (latitude), 86° 30′ 0″ W (longitude), occupying 1,241 squaremiles. See Figure 1. The county is approximately 70 miles south of Traverse City andabout 90 miles north of Grand Rapids. Adjacent counties include Manistee County to thenorth, Lake County to the east, Newaygo County at the southeast corner, and OceanaCounty on the south. Lake Michigan forms the western boundary for Mason County,providing residents with over 28 miles of freshwater shoreline. Organized in 1855, MasonCounty was named after the first Governor of Michigan, Stevens Thomas Mason. The Cityof Ludington is the county seat.Prominent features of the landscape include the aforementioned 28 miles of Lake Michiganshoreline and large areas of farmland and forest. The Lake Michigan shoreline featuresextensive bluff and dune areas. Rivers and streams flow through Mason County, from eastto west, and empty into Lake Michigan. There are also many small lakes scatteredthroughout the county. Hamlin Lake, the largest lake in Mason County, sits behind a damMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 3
  7. 7. Mason County Figure 1: Mason County is located in central lower Michigan on Lake Michigan. (Data: Michigan Geographic Data Library)Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 4
  8. 8. and the dunes at Ludington State Park. Small wetlands dot the landscape. Many otherwetlands in the agricultural areas were drained long ago. Most of the privately ownedshoreline of Lake Michigan and the inland lakes are developed with cottages, seasonal andyear-around homes. The City of Ludington is a small port city, where tourists and industryco-exist. Ludington’s waterfront is largely dedicated to deep water facilities and industry,but is converting to marinas, parks, and some residential uses. Highways are alsoimportant in Mason County. US-31 stretches north from Muskegon to US-10 just east ofLudington. US-10 extends from Ludington nearly due east to the county line and beyondto Clare and Bay City. US-31 splits from US-10 at Scottville and extends north to thecounty line and the City of Manistee a short distance farther. Scottville is a small city in thecenter of the county. The County contains three rural villages, Custer, Fountain and FreeSoil. There are also fifteen townships in Mason County.People Mason County has a population of 28,705 according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Thisis a slight increase over 2000, when the population was 28,274 people. This growth of430 people is an increase of 1.5%. During this same period, Michigan’s populationdecreased by 0.6%. Figure 2 shows the distribution of population and the median agethroughout Mason County. Four of the twenty communities in the county comprise overhalf (57%) of the county’s population. Those communities are the City of Ludington(8,076), Hamlin Township (3,408), Pere Marquette Charter Township (2,366), and AmberTownship (2,535).The median age of Mason County residents is 45.1 years. This is considerably older thanthe median age for the state of Michigan, which is 37.6 years. An older population mayhave different needs in terms of recreational programs and facilities.Housing According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there are 17,293 housing units in MasonCounty. More than 4,000 of these (4,051) are designated for seasonal, recreational, oroccasional use. This number is significant because it means that the population of theCounty can swell be several thousand during peak vacation times. Further, seasonalresidents of the community are another special population with unique needs in terms ofrecreational facilities. Most of these seasonal residents have chosen there second homesbecause of the recreational and natural resource opportunities that are available nearby. ItMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 5
  9. 9. is very important to these seasonal residents that those facilities and resources by preservedand maintained.Income The median household income in Mason County was $40,039, according to the2006-2010 American Community Survey Estimates. This compares to $48,432 for thestate of Michigan. Approximately 15% of the County population had income that fellbelow the poverty level. Percent of Population Median Age County Total Amber Township 2,535 8.8% 45.10 Branch Township 1,328 4.6% 44.30 Village of Custer 284 1.0% 45.30 Balance of Custer Township* 970 3.4% 45.10 Eden Township 582 2.0% 43.00 Village of Free Soil 144 0.5% 44.40 Balance of Free Soil Township* 678 2.4% 47.50 Grant Township 909 3.2% 48.90 Hamlin Township 3,408 11.9% 49.70 Logan Township 312 1.1% 55.70 Meade Township 181 0.6% 49.10 Pere Marquette Charter Township 2,366 8.2% 45.30 Riverton Township 1,153 4.0% 44.30 Village of Fountain 193 0.7% 37.80 Balance of Sheridan Township* 1,072 3.7% 47.90 Sherman Township 993 3.5% 42.10 Summit Township 924 3.2% 52.30 Victory Township 1,383 4.8% 40.90 City of Ludington 8,076 28.1% 43.00 City of Scottville 1,214 4.2% 35.10 Mason County 28,705 100% 45.10 * Village listed immediately above is included in official Data: U.S. Census census count for the township Figure 2: Median age and distribution of population in Mason County.Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 6
  10. 10. Administrative StructureThe Mason County Parks and Recreation Commission is a 10-member body established asprovided by state law and has been delegated the responsibility for planning andadministration of recreational services by and for the county. Members include thechairman of the Road Commission, the Drain Commissioner, Chair of the PlanningCommission, a member of the County Board, and six members from the public at largeappointed by the County Board whose terms are for three years. Generally, at the firstmeeting of each year, a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and a Secretary are elected to actfor the Mason County Parks and Recreation Commission. The Commission lays out thecapital improvement plans for the parks. The Commission holds four meetings a year, andif needed, the Chairperson will call special meetings. The Parks and RecreationCommission is responsible for maintenance and development of the parks in MasonCounty and employs two seasonal full time staff members and three part time employees.Seasonal employees include a Manager, Ranger, and three Assistant Rangers who work atMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 7
  11. 11. the Campground and Picnic Area. Volunteers provide crucial support to many programsand activities in the county. The Commission uses volunteers throughout the year tomaintain facilities at the Campground and the Disc Golf Course. The organizational chartin Figure 3 shows the structure of parks and recreation administration in Mason County.The budgets for operations & maintenance and capital improvements are shown in Figure4. Funding for these operations comes from registrations, user fees, and annualcontributions from the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant. The Ludington Pumped StoragePlant owns two parks in Mason County and has a long-term agreement with the Parks and Mason County Board of Commissioners Buildings, Grounds, Airport, Zoning, Planning, Agriculture, County Parks and Recreation Commission Equalization – Town,Administrator Tax, Liaison to Fairgrounds Committee Parks Manager Full Time Seasonal Employees Disc Golf Organization Campground R/C Flying Field Picnic Area Volunteers Figure 3: Parks and recreation administration in Mason County. CHECK TJHMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 8
  12. 12. Recreation Commission that guaranteed, beginning in 2000 when the 20-year lease wassigned between the county and the pumped storage plant, an annual donation of $10,000for capital improvements and $20,000 for park operations. These monies are to be usedby the county only for park operations and improvements, and are adjusted annually bythe Consumer Price Index (CPI). In 2012, the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant donated$12,230 for capital improvements and $27,306 for park operations. The Parks andRecreation Commission does not provide any programming services. Figure 4: Mason County parks and recreation budget. Operation & Programming Capital Maintenance Improvements 2011 $00,000 $0 $00,000 2012 $27,306 $0 $13,230 West Chauvez Road approximately five miles south The Mason County Campground is located at 5906 of Ludington.Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 9
  13. 13. Recreation and Resource InventoriesAn inventory of the existing Mason County parks and natural resources was completedusing the information provided by the county. It was verified with field checking andreview from the Parks and Recreation Commission. The county operates two park facilitiesthat are owned by the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant. Mason County also owns theMason County Fairgrounds and two parcels of property that are not currently developed.Figure 5 shows generalized locations of parks, facilities, and undeveloped land currentlyowned and administered by Mason County. Included is the Community Ice Arena at WestShore Community College in Victory Township. An inventory of all county-owned parksand facilities is provided on page 12. Part of this section of the plan includes additionalinformation to support the inventory, each contributing to a broader understanding ofrecreation available in Mason County. Included are park descriptions, a recreation granthistory, accessibility analysis, other parks and facilities, comparison to standards, sportsparticipation trends, inventory of natural resources, and tourism impacts.Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 10
  14. 14. Classification of County ParksA recommended classification system for local and regional recreation open spaceincludes the following four types of parks. In Mason County, there are two developed parkproperties, both of which are considered Large Urban Parks. The Community Ice Arena atWest Shore Community College is also considered a Community Park.Figure 5: Generalized locations of parks, facilities, and undeveloped land currently owned and administered by theMason County Parks and Recreation Commission.Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 11
  15. 15. Mason County Parks and Recreation Inventory Acreage Classification Service Area Owner Disc Golf Playground Pavilion Restrooms Ice Skating Nature Trail Grills Campsites Camper Cabins Beach Area River Access Location Other Accessibility* County Parks Field for radio County & Ludington Pumped Pere Marquette Mason County Campground 60 UP 1 1 X X X 54 ? controlled 2 Beyond Storage Plant Charter Tw p airplanesMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 County & Ludington Pumped Pere Marquette Mason County Picnic Area 150 UP 3 1 1 X X 2 Beyond Storage Plant Charter Tw p Big Sauble River Property 6 un N/A Mason County X Free Soil Tw p N/A Pere Marquette Inman Road Property 34 un N/A Mason County N/A Charter Tw p Community center, three Mason County (leased County & Pere Marquette horse arenas, Mason County Fairgrounds 50 N/A to Western Michigan X 115 2 Beyond Charter Tw p grand stand Fair Association) w ith 3,500 seats Other Gym, West Shore Community Ice County & CP Mason County X 1 Victory Tw p sw imming 3 Arena Beyond pool Totals 300 3 2 2 Yes 1 2 Yes 169 0 1 * See plan narrative under "Accessibility" for explanation of numeric code. Classification: CP = Community Park NP = Neighborhood Park MP = Mini-Park UP = Large Urban Park12 un = undeveloped
  16. 16. Mini-Parks address limited, isolated, or unique recreational needs. They are usuallybetween 2,500-square feet and one acre in size.Neighborhood Parks are often considered the basic unit of a park system. They serve asthe recreational and social focus of the neighborhood. Their intended service area is ¼ to½ mile distance and uninterrupted by non-residential roads and other physical barriers.They are generally 5 to 10 acres in size.Community Parks serve a broader purpose than neighborhood parks. Their focus is onmeeting community-based recreation needs, as well as preserving unique landscapes andopen spaces. They are usually between 30 and 50 acres and serve a radius of ½ to 3 miledistance. The Community Ice Arena at West Shore Community College in VictoryTownship is considered a Community Park.Large Urban Parks serve a broader purpose than community parks and are used whencommunity parks and neighborhood parks are not adequate to serve local needs. Theygenerally serve the entire community and are a minimum of 50 acres. The Mason CountyCampground and the Mason County Picnic Area are considered Large Urban Parks.Description of County Park LandsMason County Campground and the Mason County Picnic Area The Ludington PumpedStorage Plant, jointly owned by Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison, owns these twoparks and has a 20-year lease agreement with the Parks and Recreation Commissionrequiring each party to certain terms. The original lease term began in 1974, upon thecompletion of construction of the two parks. This lease expired in December of 1999 andwas extended for 20 more years, ending in 2019.Written into the1999 lease was an agreement that the Ludington Pumped Storage Plantwould complete three improvement projects. First, it would rebuild the bath house at theMason County Campground and bring it into ADA compliance. Second would be anupgrade to the pavilion at the Mason County Picnic Area, bringing that building up to ADAspecifications. And finally, the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant will increase the size andnumber of campsites at the Mason County Campground, improve electric service to campMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 13
  17. 17. sites, and overall, improve the entire campground. Upgrades to the campground werecompleted in 2002 with the addition of five new camp sites. Another improvement to thecampground was the installation of a septic tank and drain field for the host site. In 2010camping cabins were added to the campground.The Mason County Campground (Figure 6) includes 56 wooded campsites and theaforementioned camping cabins. The campground also features a pavilion playgroundand a nature trail that connects it to the Picnic Area. Hull Field, a flying field for radiocontrolled model airplanes is located just west of the campground. The Twisted SticksRadio Control Club operates Hull Field on land just west of the campground. This fieldwas built and is maintained by the club, with ultimate oversight by the Parks andRecreation Commission. The field is open to the public, but in order to use it, pilots mustpossess an appropriate license.Figure 6: General location of the Mason County Campground, at 5906 West Chauvez in Pere Marquette CharterTownship.Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 14
  18. 18. The Mason County Picnic Area includes a large pavilion that seats 350 people and can berented for public and private functions. Also located in this area are three 24-goal disc golfcourses, which are operated by the Mason County Disc Golf Organization. These courseswere built entirely with volunteer help and they have been the site of several tournamentsheld by the Michigan Disc Golf Organization. The three courses combined are advertisedas the 3rd largest disc golf course in the world. They are open to the public at no cost.Figure 7 show the general location of the Mason County Picnic Area. Figure 7: General location of the Mason County Picnic Area, at 6501 West Chauvez in Pere Marquette Charter TownshipInman Road Property Located near the intersection of West Bradshaw Road and InmanRoad just north of the Mason County Campground in Pere Marquette Charter Township,this 34-acre county-owned parcel is currently undeveloped. Its proximity to the LakeMichigan shoreline, the Mason County Campground, and the Mason County Picnic Arealends itself to many possibilities for new facilities and to potentially connect the availableMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 15
  19. 19. recreation sites in this area of Mason County. Figure 8 shows the general location of theInman Road Property. Figure 8: General location of the Inman Road property, near West Bradshaw and Inman in Pere Marquette Charter TownshipBig Sauble River PropertyThis six-acre riverfront property is actually two separate parcels situated on the north andsouth sides of the Big Sauble River in Free Soil Township. This scenic undevelopedproperty has direct access from US-31 and is an ideal location to provide boating,kayaking, and fishing access to the Big Sauble River. Figure 9 provides context for thegeneral location of this property.Mason County Fairgrounds The fairgrounds property is owned by the county and is leasedto the Western Michigan Fair Association. Located on the north side of US-10 in PereMarquette Charter Township, this 50-acre site features 115 camp sites, a communitycenter, three horse arenas, several barns and a grand stand with 3,500 seats. Figure 10shows its location.Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 16
  20. 20. Figure 9: General location of the Big Sauble River property, on the east side of US-31 in Free Soil Township Figure 10: General location of Mason County Fairgrounds, on the north side of US-10 in Pere Marquette Charter TownshipMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 17
  21. 21. Recreation Grant HistoryMason County has received two grant from DNR-administered grant programs. In 2000,the county submitted a grant for the Community Ice Area at West Shore CommunityCollege in Victory Township. The project title was “Regional Ice Arena,” project numberCM00-198, with a closed project status since the ice arena was completed in 2003. In2010, Mason County received a $320,000 development grant (TF10-061) forimprovements to the Mason County Fairgrounds. As of October 2012, the improvementshave not yet been constructed.AccessibilityCreating a park system that is safe, accessible and usable to all individuals within thecommunity, including those with disabilities, is essential. A grading system has beendeveloped by the DNR to easily identify those parks and facilities which are most, andleast, handicapped-accessible and usable, based on ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)guidelines. The following accessibility grading system uses a five-point system rangingfrom 1: None of the facilities/park areas meet accessibility guidelines, to 5: The entirepark was developed/renovated using the principles of Universal Design.An ADA compliance assessment of county facilities was conducted during the summer of2007 and consisted of a visual inspection of each park and facility in regards to access andcirculation. As noted in the inventory listing on page 12, some of the parks do not meet allcriteria for handicap accessibility. The Parks and Recreation Commission will continue itsefforts towards improving accessibility at each of the parks when improvements are made.This includes accessible parking, paths, restrooms, activity areas, amenities, and signage. Accessibility Grade Definition 1 None of the facilities/park areas meet accessibility guidelines 2 Some of the facilities/park areas meet accessibility guidelines 3 Most of the facilities/park areas meet accessibility guidelines 4 The entire park meets accessibility guidelines 5 The entire park was developed/renovated using the principles of Universal DesignMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 18
  22. 22. Other Parks and FacilitiesWithin Mason County are twenty local municipalities, which include two cities, threevillages, and fifteen townships. Each provides local parks and community recreationalfacilities. School districts also provide recreation amenities, as well as state and federalagencies. The management of these facilities is the responsibility of the elected boards andcommissions of the respective entity. While this recreation plan does not inventory andmap each of the parks and recreational facilities under the ownership of other agenciesand governmental entities, the county recognizes the health benefits and overallcontribution to quality of life these local recreational assets provide to communities. TheParks and Recreation Commission supports efforts to improve all recreational facilities andservices within the county. The county is committed to cooperating with communities andagencies on recreation projects when goals identified within this plan can be satisfied.Recreation facilities in the county are identified and inventoried in Table 7-5 of the MasonCounty Data Book, available on the Mason County website (masoncounty.net). Selectstate and federal recreation sites are shown in Figure 11. Figure 12 summarizes thoseparks and facilities. Figure 11: Select state and federal recreational sites in Mason County.Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 19
  23. 23. Name of Park Acreage Ownership Ludington Municipal Marina N/A City of Ludington Senior Citizens Center N/A City of Ludington Stearns Park 4.5 City of Ludington Cartier Park N/A City of Ludington Loomis Street Park N/A City of Ludington Peter Copeyon Park 5.0 City of Ludington Dow Field N/A City of Ludington James St. Playfield N/A City of Ludington Waterfront Park 5.3 City of Ludington City Park 3.0 City of Ludington Leveaux Park 0.51 City of Ludington Community Pool N/A Ludington School District Oriole Field 23 Ludington School District Custer Township Park N/A Custer Township River Park 10 Custer Township DNR Nature Study Platform 1.5 Department of Natural Resources Ludington State Park 5,400 Department of Natural Resources Fountain Ball Fields N/A Fountain Village Peak Playground N/A Fountain Village Wilson Hill N/A Hamlin Township South Bayou Park N/A Hamlin Township White Pine Village 9 Pere Marquette Township Buttersville Park 18.5 Pere Marquette Township Suttons Landing Park 34 Pere Marquette Township Pere Marquette Shrine 2.4 Pere Marquette Township Memorial Tree Park 27 Pere Marquette Township Riverton Ball Team 40 Riverton Township McPhail Field N/A City of Scottville Scottville Riverside Park N/A City of Scottville Sheridan Township Park N/A Sheridan Township Gunn Lake N/A Sherman Township Summit Park 5.4 Summit Township Kibby Creek Park 1 Summit Township Marrison Road Park 0.5 Summit Township Lake Michigan Recreation Area US Forest Service North Country National Scenic Trail US Forest Service Nordhouse Dunes US Forest Service Pere Marquette Natural and Scenic River Corridor US Forest Service Victory Park 40 Victory Township West Shore Community College 360 West Shore Community College Figure 12: Partial list of other parks and recreation located within Mason County.Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 20
  24. 24. The following overview summarizes some of the parks and recreational facilities withinMason County that are owned and operated by other agencies and governmental entities.Federal The United State Forest Service operates several facilities within Mason County. § Nordhouse Dunes: A hiking trail begins at the end of Nurnburg Road on the north side of Hamlin Lake and continues for a distance of 14.5 miles through the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area north of Ludington State Park and touches Lake Michigan, finally ending at the Lake Michigan Recreation Area. § Pere Marquette River: A popular fishing and canoeing stream, classified as a National Scenic River and State Natural River. The Forest Service controls much of the river and provides various landings and facilities for those who navigate the stream. § North Country Trail: The North Country Trail Association describes the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) as a premier footpath that stretches for about 4,600 miles across seven northern states. From the getoffthecouch.info website, the NCT segment in Mason County is entirely within the Manistee National Forest and maintained by the Spirit of the Woods chapter of the North Country Trail Association. There are no official NCT trailheads in Mason County, but some parking at Tyndall Road is available with public access at Nine Mile Bridge to the north in Manistee County. As shown in Figure 12, the NCT is in Meade Township and heads southward to Lake County and northward to Manistee County. § Lake Michigan Recreation Area: This popular area is comprised of family and group campsites that are both scenic and natural. The area adjoins Lake Michigan to the west and Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area to the south. It is located about 15 miles north of the City of Ludington on Forest Trail 5629, and has for public use 99 paved spur campsites each of which has a fire ring and picnic table with a lamp holder, half of which are barrier free. The area also has Lake Michigan swimming beaches, observation decks, picnic sites with playground, and over three miles of graveled bicycle and hiking paths.State Ludington State Park is located on M-116, approximately 8 miles north of Ludington,and is situated so that it boasts long water frontages on both Lake Michigan and HamlinLake. This park has 344 modern campsites, two ski trails, encompasses the Sauble RiverMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 21
  25. 25. between Hamlin Lake and Lake Michigan, a camp store and restaurant, along with boatrental and launching facilities. Ludington State Park is undoubtedly the largest visitorattraction to the county.Cities and Villages The following municipalities operate a number of parks andrecreational facilities in Mason County. § Ludington: Located at the western extremity of the county, along with the Ludington Area School District, has for many years given the youth and adults alike their formal recreation programming and will continue to serve the township populace that embraces the school district. Although some financial changes have been made to this program in the past two years, there continues to be a very good and active recreation program in this area. Ludington is able to optimize its many recreational resources and this avoids a costly duplication of services by the county. § Scottville: Located near the center of the county, and eight miles east of Ludington, Scottville operates a summer recreation program for the surrounding community in addition to owning and operating Riverside Park on the south side of the Pere Marquette River at the southern edge of the city. The city has recently installed a swimming pool at the park but this pool is at the present time only for the use of registered campers at the park. Scottville Riverside Park and the Old Engine Club use property owned by the City of Scottville, which is located on south Scottville Road on the south side of the Pere Marquette River. Originally the campground was built over a period of time and has now become an excellent campground with a swimming pool and modern bathhouse and toilets. This facility is quite often used to capacity during the camping season.Villages of Custer, Fountain, and Free Soil These communities have active volunteerrecreation associations that provide primarily softball and baseball activities.Townships The following townships own and operate their own recreational facilities. § Branch Township: Has an active volunteer recreation association that provides softball and baseball activities, inclusive of ball diamonds owned by the township.Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 22
  26. 26. § Custer Township: Ownership of primarily unimproved area on the south shore of the Pere Marquette River about two miles south of the Village of Custer. This area is open to the public for boat and canoe access to the river. § Hamlin Township: Operates two parks, both of which are day use parks and heavily used. Wilson Hill Park is located on the south shore of upper Hamlin Lake and has a ball diamond, picnic area, and a boat launch ramp for small boats. South Bayou Park is located on the west side of Lakeshore Drive on the south side of the south bayou of Hamlin Park. This park appears to be heavily used for picnicking and has nearby access to Hamlin Lake. § Pere Marquette Charter Township: Operates a very active parks and recreation program. The township has four parks and is the only township to pay a per-capita fee to the City of Ludington for their children to attend activities sponsored by the Ludington Recreation Department. The township parks commission operates a 44- site campground on the high banks above Lake Michigan and has several hundred feet of beach on Lake Michigan for public use. Memorial Tree Park on Lincoln Lake is a 37-acre day use park and has a ball diamond and a large picnic shelter with a building containing flush toilets. Suttons Landing Park, located on the Pere Marquette River near Old Highway 31 has a large modern picnic shelter with flush toilets, a boardwalk on the river with handicap fishing positions, and a boat launch ramp on the river that connects to Lake Michigan. Pere Marquette Shrine located on Lakeshore Drive has been recently rebuilt, and the area provides parking and a boat launch ramp on the east side into Pere Marquette Lake. § Riverton Township: Has an active volunteer recreation association that provides softball and baseball activities, inclusive of ball diamonds owned by the township. § Sheridan Township: Operates a swimming area and picnic area on the north end of Round Lake. § Sherman Township: Picnic and swimming area on the south side of Gun Lake. § Summit Township: Operates Summit Park located at the south end of the high banks area on the Lake Michigan shoreline in the southwest corner of the county. Located at the site of a former fish tug base, this park has a modern toilet structure and includes a large pavilion for group use, a ball diamond, and tennis courts. § Victory Township: Has an active volunteer recreation association that provides softball and baseball activities, inclusive of ball diamonds owned by the township.Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 23
  27. 27. Other West Shore Community College, which is located near the geographical center ofthe county in Victory Township, has many facilities that are made available to the MasonCounty community. Included is an Olympic-size swimming pool, a large field house thatincludes gyms, handball courts, and many other sport and health-related and recreationrelated activities. The college has been a leader in recreation since it was established over30 years ago. The West Shore Community Ice Arena was completed in 2003 on itscampus and has been very popular with Mason County residents.Comparison to StandardsTo help analyze the adequacy of parks and recreation facilities owned and operated byMason County, it is helpful to compare the county’s system to various standards andbenchmarks.Overall Quantity Mason County has 300 acres of park land to serve about 28,000 people.This equates to approximately 10.6 acres of park land per 1,000 residents. Generalrecreation guidelines suggest there should be 5 to 10 acres of park land per 1,000residents. This means the county should have at least 141 acres of park land and as muchas 282 acres to meet the general guidelines. The county exceeds these recommendations.Facility Standards The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has publishedtypical recreation facility standards that specify facility service area, the number of facilitiesneeded to service the population, and the land area needed. These standards can be usedin conjunction with the acreage standards to further identify Mason County’s recreationneeds. Figure 13 provides a comparison of the county’s public facilities against publishedrecreation facility standards. Based on the standards, some deficiencies are apparent.Deficiencies can be seen in basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball fields, softball,football, soccer, golf courses, and playgrounds. The resulting deficiencies, as determinedby this NRPA standards evaluation, does not account for the recreational facilities ownedand operated by other agencies and governmental entities that service local populations.Mason County can optimize the recreational resources available to all residents in thecounty by supporting recreation provided by the local municipalities.Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 24
  28. 28. Recommended Recommended County Public Surplus/ 1 2,4 Standard Facilities Need DeficiencyBasketball Courts3 1/5,000 0 6 -6Tennis Courts 1/2,000 0 14 -14Baseball Fields 1/5,000 0 6 -6 Lighted Fields 1/30,000 0 1 -1Softball 1/5,000 0 6 -6Football Fields 1/20,000 0 1 -1Soccer Fields 1/10,000 0 3 -3Golf Courses 9 hole 1/25,000 0 1 -1 18 hole 1/50,000 0 1 -1Swimming Pool Indoor 1/20,000 0 1 -1 Outdoor 1/40,000 0 1 -1Ice Rinks Indoor 1/50,000 1 1 0 Outdoor 1/20,000 0 1 -1Playgrounds 1/3,000 2 9 -7Trails 1 system per region 1 1 0 Recommended number of each facility per unit of population (National Recreation and Park Association/Michigan Recreation 1 Opportunity Standards). 2 Population of 28,274 based on 2000 Census data 3 Two backboards were considered to be equal to one (1) court for the purposes of this analysis 4 Rounded to the nearest whole number Figure 13: Comparison to Standards for Park and Recreational Facilities .Level of Service More recent park guidelines indicate that one must also consider the“Level of Service” desired by the community. If Mason County residents’ needs are metwith the existing amount of park land and facilities, then that amount is sufficient. This iswhy the community input portion of a recreation plan is so important. The Parks andRecreation Commission needs to understand the wishes of the community it serves in orderto provide the Level of Service desired by the residents.Sports Participation TrendsWhile the analysis under the previous sections provides an excellent start in understandinghow the county’s recreation facilities stack-up against the DNR-recommended standards, itdoes not provide a complete picture. For example, some facilities offered in the county,such as the disc golf course, do not appear on the list of recommended standards. As aMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 25
  29. 29. supplement to the DNR-recommended standards, data from the Sporting GoodsManufacturers Association (SGMA) is another way to help understand recreation trends.It is important to be aware of national recreation trends because this information canenable a community like Tuscola Township to anticipate activities that have a largenumber of participants and show a growth in popularity. The SGMA conducts an annualsurvey that analyzes the size of sports product markets in order to determine sportsparticipation trends. Detailed results of the 2011 Sports, Fitness & Recreational ActivitiesParticipation Report are given in Appendix A. This report describes the overallparticipation figures for 119 sports in 9 different categories: Aerobic activities,Conditioning activities, Strength activities, Individual sports, Racquet sports, Team sports,Outdoor sports, Winter sports, and Water sports. The most popular sports and recreationalactivities in the United States for 2010, as measured by people who participate at leastonce a year in any given activity (overall participation), are: 1. Walking for Fitness (114.1 million participants) 2. Bowling (55.9 million) 3. Treadmill (53.1 million) 4. Running/Jogging (49.4 million) 5. Hand Weights (45.9 million) 6. Billiards/Pool (39.4 million) 7. Bicycling (39.3 million) 8. Freshwater Fishing (38.9 million) 9. Weight/Resistance Machines (38.6 million) 10. Dumbells (37.4 million)Natural Resource InventoryA natural resource inventory is used to identify open space areas that may be desirable forprotection and/or public access through acquisition or other means. There are manysignificant natural resources in the county, including over 27 miles of Lake Michiganshoreline, 9,700-acres of inland lakes, 59,000-acres of forest in the Manistee NationalForest, approximately 238-miles of rivers and streams, and 6,440-acres of protected sanddunes. It’s worthwhile to note that Mason County ranks 44th among the 83 counties inMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 26
  30. 30. Michigan regarding the total number of lakes and ponds within its boundaries, and ranks36th in total acreage. Figure 15 details the types of lakes and ponds in the county. Figure 15: Types of Lakes and Ponds in Mason County Type Number Acres Natural lakes & ponds 193 3,660 Natural lake with dam 4 5,934 Artificial ponds 79 17.1 Marl lake 1 0.9 Settling pond 2 21.1 Fish breeding pond 1 0.5Figure 16, on the next page, shows the location of lakes, rivers, streams, wooded areas,and sand dunes in Mason County. Also shown are some of the wetlands in Mason County.A more detailed account of wetlands in Mason County is described on Map 3-2(“Floodplains and Wetlands”) of the Mason County Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2006.A partial inventory of inland lakes in Mason County, indicating which ones have publicaccess, is listed in Figure 17.Most of the rivers and streams in Mason County are of very high quality and supportdesirable species of game fish. Major rivers in the county include the Pere Marquette,Lincoln (north and south branches), Little Manistee, and the Big Sauble. The PereMarquette River is the major west-east river on the southern side of the county. TheLincoln River is the primary river running west to east on the county’s northern side.Streams and rivers in the county, classified by their size, are listed below in Figure 18. Amap showing the locations of these rivers is provided in Figure 19. Figure 18: Types of Streams and Rivers in Mason County Stream Size Characteristics Mileage Very Small Not canoeable at average water level 174 Miles Small Canoeable with difficulty 3 Miles Medium Readily canoeable 5 Miles Large Handles small to medium outboard motors 60 Miles Very Large Handles large outboard motors 10 Miles Source: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Recreation Services DivisionMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 27
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  32. 32. Inland Lake Surface Area (acres) Public Access Allen Lake Augustine Lake 9 Bachelor Lake Barton Lake 37.2 Bass Lake 524 yes Blue Lake 69 Casin Lake 48 Emerson Lake 55 Ford Lake 208 yes Gooseneck Lake 77 Gun Lake 219 yes Hackert Lake (Crystal) 125 yes Hamlin Lake 4,990 yes Hoags Lake 35 yes Hopkins Lake Lake Eden 64.4 Lincoln Lake 155 yes Long Lake 136 Mud Lake 5.7 North Oxbow Lake Pere Marquette Lake 554 yes Pleiness Lake 81 yes Pond Augustine Lake 5.4 Round Lake 571 yes South Oxbow Lake St. Marys Lake 113 yes Tallman Lake 170 yes Thunder Lake Vogel Lake Watassa Lake 6.2 Whelan Lake 13.2 Woodruff Lake 20 Figure 17: Partial inventory of inland lakes in Mason County.Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 29
  33. 33. Figure 19: Map of major rivers in Mason County.Of the 251-miles of inventoried rivers and streams in Mason County, approximately 133-miles are designated state or federal wild/natural/scenic/natural river. The Pere MarquetteRiver is designated as a state Natural River, and also as a federal Scenic River. Thesedesignations mandate certain provisions to help retain the naturalness of the shoreline andto help protect river water quality. Provisions of this sort typically include deeper setbacksfor buildings, greater minimum lot widths, limitations on the size of signs, deeper setbacksfor septic systems, a natural vegetative buffer strip, limitations on the clearing of shorelinevegetation, and control of access to the river.Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 30
  34. 34. Earlier, Figure 16 showed the location of sand dunes in the county. Some of the dunes aredesignated critical dune areas, which run along the shore from the City of Ludington northinto Grant Township. Much of this area is in public ownership, either through LudingtonState Park or the Manistee National Forest. Sand dune protection and management isadministered by the MDEQ’s Land Water Management Division. A more detailedaccount of sand dunes in the county is described in Chapter 3 (“Future Land Use”) of theMason County Comprehensive Plan, available on the county’s website (masoncounty.net).Impact of TourismCommercial lodging visitors are generally the group that most businesses think of as thetourist population. This group includes visitors staying in campgrounds, motels, hotels,and resorts. Vacationing commercial lodging visitors are probably the most significanttourist group in Mason County. Generally, this group uses the western half of the countyand the City of Ludington, where well-developed lodging facilities cater to them. Avisitor’s guide to Mason County of commercial lodging tallies 20 motels, 15 resorts, six bedand breakfasts, four inns, and approximately 20 campgrounds that are available for visitorsto the county. In terms of overall camping sites in the county, Figure 20 (Number ofCampgrounds), shows that 25 campgrounds are available, of which 80% are privatelyowned and operated. Figure 21 (Number of Campsites) summarizes the total number ofcampsites available in the county. About 71% are commercial and the other 29% are fromfederal, state, and local agencies. The data in Figures 20 and 21 are from a 2000 inventoryincluded in the Mason County Data Book, on the county’s website at masoncounty.net.Some subgroups of these tourists to Mason County could be considered a seasonal residentpopulation and can have a substantial impact on the economy in Mason County. Thisgroup is important because it tends to have a higher level of income than the overallresident population and spends dollars over a longer period than visiting tourists. Twoother groups also make up tourist populations in the county. Day trippers consist of areaor regional residents that use attractions and services for a single day and may drive up tothree hours to fish, canoe, ski, attend festivals, or shop. The size of this group hasincreased due to the completion of US-31 to US-10 just two miles east of Ludington. Inaddition, the five lanes of US-10 between Ludington and the northbound bypass of US-31near Scottville provides ease of access to many points within Mason County. Data in theMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 31
  35. 35. Number of Campgrounds 1 1 1 National Forest 1 1 State Park Municipal Figure 20 Township County Commerical 20 Number of Campsites 99 399 National Forest State Park 62 Municipal Figure 21 44 Township 49 County 1620 CommericalMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 32
  36. 36. Mason County Tourism Profile compiled by Michigan State University Extension showsMason County as having one of the highest market shares in terms of expenditures bytourists destined for the five northern counties of the West Michigan Regional Planningarea. The Mason County Campground has 56 modern camp sites.Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 33
  37. 37. Public InputTo comply with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Guidelines for theDevelopment of Community Park, Recreation Open Space and Greenway Plans, MasonCounty provided three public input opportunities during this planning process. Thisincluded an online survey, and invitation to the public to attend the August 20, 2012Mason County Parks and Recreation meeting in Scottville and share their input, and therequired 30-day period for review and comment, with public meeting, on the draft plan. Acompilation of all of the input received from all sources is contained in Appendix B. Whatfollows is a summary of the input and feedback received during the planning process. Toencourage participation in the online survey, the County released an article in theLudington Daily News, promoted the survey on the project website(http://masoncorec.wordpress.com/), engaged in Facebook networking, and sent variousflyers and e-mail messages to members of the community. Together, these channels fordiscussion led to more than 123 responses that the County can use as a baseline level ofinformation for supporting the ideas outlined in this Recreation Plan.Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 34
  38. 38. Providing Access to Online Information About the Recreation Plan Shortly after theplanning process began, an informational website on Facebook was created, as shownbelow in Figure 22. It was developed to serve as an online presence that would displaypublic information, describe the process, provide photos, interactive maps, and be a placefor interested parties to comment on recreation in Mason County. The Facebook page wasan important communication and outreach effort to community groups because it had theeffect of encouraging them to take the online survey, described in more detail below. Figure 22 Screenshot of Mason County’s Facebook page for the recreation plan, located online at: https://www.facebook.com/MasonCountyRecreationPlanMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 35
  39. 39. Overview of the Online Survey The online survey was made available from June 25through August 1, 2012, complete with 20 questions each of which can be seen inAppendix B of this document. The intent of the survey was to establish an easy means ofcommunication where residents and stakeholders of Mason County could provide inputabout the existing parks and ideas for future recreational improvements. Publicannouncements to encourage survey participation took the form of an article in theLudington Daily News, a link on the project website, Facebook networking with relatedorganizations, flyers and postcards printed in color, and various e-mail messages sent tomembers of the community. More details about responses are given below.Survey Summary During the public input period, the County collected many great ideasand suggestions for Mason County parks and recreation. The following information is asummary of the major ideas the County received from the online survey and the Facebookpage. The complete data is included in Appendix B of this document.About the Respondents The survey response data indicates that over three-quarters of theresponses from the survey were completed by residents of Mason County. Figure 23,indicating responses to Question #18, shows the percentage of responses from the listedlocations. Also, from Figure 24, more than 63% of the respondents were over the age of50, as documented in Question #20. Please note that this survey received only onecomment from youth under the age of 18. From Question #19, most of the responses weresubmitted by individuals living in a two-person household. More specific informationfollows in Figures 24 and 25 below. Figure 23: Location of Respondents “What statement best describes your role in Mason County?” I live in Mason County 78.9% My family owns a seasonal home in Mason County 7.3% I have visited Mason County 11.9%Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 36
  40. 40. Figure 24: Age of Respondents “What is your age?” Figure 25: Household Size Age Response Percent “How many people live in your household?” Under 18 0.9% Number in Household Response Percent 18 – 29 5.4% 1 9.0% 30 – 39 11.7% 2 47.7% 40 – 49 18.0% 3-5 43.2% 50 - 64 51.4% 6 or more 0.0% 65 and older 12.6%About the Parks Question 1 asked the respondents to indicate the number of times theyvisited a Mason County park in the past year. A graph of the data is shown below in Figure26. Figure 26 “How many times have you or your family used a Mason County park in the past year?” (Q1)Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 37
  41. 41. Question 2 asked respondents which Mason County park they have visited in the past year.Figure 27 shows that over 73% of the respondents visited the fairgrounds in the past year.Figure 27 “Which of the following Mason County parks have you visited in the past year?” (Q2)Question 3 asked respondents if they have camped in Mason County’s parks in the pastyear. Figure 28 shows the Mason County Campground is the clear favorite for respondents.Figure 28 “Please indicate if you have camped in any of the following Mason County parksduring the past year.” (Q3)Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 38
  42. 42. Question 4 asked respondents why they visit parks operated by Mason County. The topchoices were for casual and informal uses such as picnics or taking pictures (48%), and toenjoy nature (47%). See Figure 29. “Other Responses” include: Fishing, attend events at the fairgroundsFigure 29 “Why do you and/or your family visit Mason County parks?” (Q4)Big Sauble River Improvements Regarding the Big Sauble River property, Question 5asked respondents if they have ever used the Big Sauble River property as a boat or kayaklaunch. Over 83% of the respondents indicated that they have not. In Question 6,respondents were given an opportunity to state whether or not they would visit the BigSauble River property more often if it were to be improved to enhance water access. Here,only 45% of the respondents said they would visit the park if there were improvementsmade. Question 7 was a follow-up and asked if respondents had any specific ideas orsuggestions for improving the Big Sauble River property. Some of the suggestions were toprotect the site from erosion, keep it rustic, have a minimally-designed parking lot, haveportable toilets, have a small boat launch, keep the area natural, have a couple of picnictables.Disc Golf Course Improvements Regarding the three disc golf courses located at theMason County Picnic Area, Question 8 asked respondents if they have ever used them.Only 18% of the respondents indicated that they had. Question 9 was aimed to determineMason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 39
  43. 43. how many times in the past year respondents used those disc golf courses. About 82% hadsaid they had not used them at all in the past year. Put another way, the responsesindicated that 18% had used the disc golf courses at least once in the past year, whichfollows the responses from Question 8. Question 10 was a follow-up and asked ifrespondents had any specific ideas or suggestions for improving the disc golf courses.Some of the suggestions were advertise them more, poison ivy removal, and workshops tointroduce families to the sport.New Facilities and Amenities Question 11 provided a list of recreational features andamenities. The respondents were asked to check those they felt were most needed inMason County and provide their own answers in the “other” box, if applicable. The topchoice, at 59%, among respondents was the desire for more walking and biking paths. Agraph of the responses can be seen in Figure 30 below. “Other Responses” include: Fish cleaning station, snowmobile trails, mountain bike single track, soccer fields, bigger camp sitesFigure 30 “What additional facilities/amenities would you like to see added to Mason Countyparks and recreational areas? (Check all that apply.)” (Q11)Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 40
  44. 44. Prioritizing Future Improvements Question 12 gathered information about the quality ofexisting Mason County parks and recreational areas. Participants of the survey were askedto rank the following features on a scale of 1 (Very Good) to 5 (Very Poor). The resultsshown in Figure 31 indicate high levels of satisfaction with the Variety ofFacilities/Amenities, Maintenance and Appearance, Safety and Security, andQuality/Friendliness of Staff. Responses show a moderate level of satisfaction with WaterAccessibility.Figure 31 “Please evaluate the following aspects of Mason County parks and recreationalareas.” (Q12)Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 41
  45. 45. Recreational Participation in Mason County in General While previous questions in theonline survey focused on specific aspects of the parks operated by the Mason County Parksand Recreation Commission, Question #13 asked respondents about the things they do inMason County already, regardless of property ownership or which agency operates arecreational amenity. The top recreational activities people participate in include using ahiking or biking trail (66.7%), boating (56.8%), picnicking (57.7%), attending festivals andspecial events (53.2%), and fishing on Lake Michigan or at an inland lake (52.3%).Overall results are shown below in Figure 32. As a companion to this question, Question#14 asked respondents to evaluate and rate those existing recreational features in MasonCounty. Those receiving the highest rating include Lake Michigan swimming access, fallcolor tours, public campgrounds, and places to go picnicking.Figure 32 “I have participated in the following recreational activities in Mason County in the pastyear: (check all that apply)” (Q13)Mason County Recreation Plan: 2013-2017 42

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