FOHRA Shows the Edsel Ford Barn at Highland Equestrian Conservancy Barn Tour

This last Saturday, September 27, the Friends of Highland Recreation put on a terrific display of history and experiences at the Edsel Ford Barn inside the Highland Recreation Area.  The group decorated a large tent with straw bales, pumpkins, mums, and corn stalks to welcome their public guests. People from all around came to see the injured but awesome Edsel Ford Barn and learn of its' uncertain future. The barn was severely damaged after years of neglect by a severe storm on June 8 of this year.

Everyone was enthusiastic about the preservation/restoration cause.

Displays included old findings from inside the barn and the surrounding area, a Boy Scouts' "Snow Snake" and badges display, and various informative materials about the Highland Recreation Area.

The FOHRA continues to seize opportunities such as the Barn Tour to inform the public of the valuable historic resources that need attention in the Recreation Area.  The Haven Hill complex at the Highland Recreation Area contains an historic  gatehouse, carriage house, and lodge ruins amongst all of its' natural beauty.

A decision regarding the Edsel Ford Barn's future from the Department of Natural Resources is expected as soon as this week.

HEC Barn Tour at Edsel Ford Barn Next Saturday!

Get ready for the Highland Equestrian Conservancy's 2008 Barn Tour on Saturday, September 27th. This year the Edsel Ford Barn is a stop on the tour! Volunteers are needed to man the large 20 x 40 foot tent and displays that the FOHRA will be setting up to entertain our guests. Below... will you join the Epic Adventure?

Below... the new FOHRA group logo which will be on display at the Barn Tour.

Exhibits will include the "Lost Treasure Barn" display complete with a treasure chest and treasure, the Rulers for Rafters sale, informative posters around the barn, 20's period music, a Highland Recreation Area display, and enthusiastic FOHRA members! The tour is formally open from 9:30 am until 4 pm, but volunteers will be working at the Edsel Ford Barn from 7:30 am until probably after 5pm.

Come out and enjoy the park for a while next Saturday. If you're interested in attending as a volunteer, contact Jay Fitzgerald of the FOHRA by writing

Also, both Saturday and Sundy, come on over to Horsin' Around in Highland for all kinds of fun!

3 Men and A Truck

Dick, Tom, and Jay started some clean-up of the overgrown Haven Hill hill road this last Sunday, September 14th. Leaves, grass, saplings, and brush have encroached over 5 feet onto the road in some areas!

Even the area in front of the lodge ruins got a little trimming...

And below, just one of the piles of debris from our clean-up...

We'll be looking for help to do more soon. Get out your trimmers, gloves, and be ready to join us in the great outdoors!

FOHRA Members Speak at Milford, Michigan Historical Society Meeting

Chris Arble and Jay Fitzgerald gave a presentation about the "Past, Present, and Future" of the Highland Recreation Area's Haven Hill complex this last Thursday, September 11, 2008 at the Milford Methodist Church.  A moment of silence was held in memory of those who lost their lives at the World Trade Center prior to the evening's formalities.

Chris and Jay presented a DVD with very interesting and dynamic background information about the history of Edsel Ford's retreat, as well as a slideshow of the Highland Recreation Area's natural beauty and historic structures. A question and answer period followed the presentation.

The Milford Historical Society members were terrific hosts, featuring their famous "Best Pot Luck in Town".

You can be assured that the FOHRA and the Milford Historical Society now have a relationship that will be enjoyable and beneficial in the years to come!

The Turtle and the Hair

One day back in June of this year, my wife Eva and I were exiting the park and saw a rock in the middle of the road... the rock turned out to be a big turtle! We stopped, snapped a few photos, and put him back in the forest off of the road.

I don't know what kind of turtle he was... but by the looks of his "hare/hair" (bad joke) algae covered shell he was obviously a pond/lake dweller who lives in the wetlands most of the time. He tried to bite me when I picked him up. A snapper?

Highland Recreation Area has many animals both warm and cold blooded. Go to the park and enjoy natures' bounty!

Creativity and Inspiration

Although the Edsel Ford Barn has been severely damaged by the summer storms this year, the FOHRA has been inspired with new visions for the Barn's future. One example is shown in the depiction below.

This design concept would include a pavilion over the existing slab that was once the interior floor of the  barn.  As you can see, this concept would accommodate a large number of possibilities for future use. Childrens' events, music, fairs, equestrian shows, art displays, winter activities - all could be realized with this design. The front of the barn would be used for historical displays, interior office space, educational classrooms, dining/cafeteria space, etc..

The Friends of Highland Recreation are filled with inspiration for the future.  This "pavilion-style" concept is one example of many possibilities. I hope you're inspired as well!

Sandhill Cranes in the Recreation Area

Eva and I were hiking near Haven Hill Lake and a small group of Sandhill Cranes flew right over our head towards Goose Meadow. Did you know that Sandhill Cranes have one of the longest fossil records of any living bird species on earth? A 2.5 million year old fossil has been found from one of these magnificent birds!

The cranes landed in the meadow and posed for my camera.

Although they can be found in farm fields and other open areas in Michigan, I think it's special that they choose the Highland Recreation Area as a place to feed and rest. Respect their privacy by staying a reasonable distance from them. They are wary and will walk away from you if you try to approach. If you're lucky you might see a mating dance - the large birds dance by leaping in the air! A special thing to see in the wild.

Get out into our Recreation Area and look for the Sandhill Cranes!

If you'd like to learn more... Wikipedia's information about the cranes is wonderful. Click HERE.

Benefits of Picking Up Litter

The other day my wife Eva and I were having a great evening in the Rec Area when we spotted an orange plastic bag in the forest. We chose to stop and pick it up to take it to a nearby trash bin.

As we approached we realized that we had found something truly special...

A giant forest fungus! Don't ask me to give it's proper latin name because I have no idea.

Have you ever seen a mushroom/fungus as amazing as this?

Our Highland Recreation Area is truly a place of natures' wonder. Take a walk in the park and be rewarded like we were.