The Blog of the Friends of Highland Recreation Area
Great news for park visitors that are bothered by unpaved and sometimes muddy or dusty bumpy roads… the long-awaited road paving project at the Highland State Recreation Area will begin in July! New blacktop roads will be installed throughout the summer starting after July 8, 2019.
To avoid conflicts with the paving of roads and of the Goose Meadow and Edsel Ford parking areas, the annual Haven Hill Festival will be moved from its’ currently scheduled date of July 27 to Saturday, October 19.
The major road paving project will cause some inconveniences when various areas of the park are repaved and repaired. Park visitors are encouraged to be patient and safe with road crews as they do their jobs throughout the summer.
As a result of the newly announced paving schedule the Friends of Highland Recreation Area have rescheduled the annual Haven Hill Festival to Saturday, October 19. A Fall season theme will add new enjoyment to the day of vintage baseball, beautiful collector cars, outdoor activities, Haven Hill History, and more.
State Park visitors are reminded that 2019 is the 100th anniversary of the Michigan State Park system and that Highland State Recreation Area was a pillar in the newly formed state park system as the lands of Haven Hill were contributed by Eleanor Ford.
The Friends of Highland Recreation Area are proud to announce that a newly-installed water fountain and bottle filling station has be activated at the Haven Hill Gatehouse after receiving passing test results from the Oakland County Health Department. Hikers, bikers, walkers, and visitors of all kinds can now enjoy fresh water on this section of the Cedar Creek Trail.
Water is coming out of the ground at a cool temperature ~ 50 degrees. The fountain was made possible by a grant from the Highland Equestrian Conservancy. The HEC, FOHRA, and the MDNR all cooperated to achieve the goal.
The fountain has three outlets including a faucet for a standing adult, the lower faucet is ADA compliant for someone in a wheelchair, and the main use is the bottle filling feature in the top center. To supply the fountain (and eventually the Haven Hill Gatehouse, under renovation) a 5-inch well was drilled 75 feet down to the water table by Mike LaLone Well Services in November of 2018.
Come enjoy a visit to Edsel and Eleanor Ford’s former Haven Hill Estate Gatehouse and a drink of fresh water too!
What does a Model T Ford automobile and a Michigan State Park have in common you might ask? Both were created 100 years ago and came together at Highland State Recreation Area on Saturday, May 18 in White Lake/Highland, Michigan of course!
The members of the “Casual T’s” driving club, members of the Model T Ford Club International (MTFCI), brought a huge collection of their beautiful automobiles to the Highland State Recreation Area to the Friends groups’ annual Redbud Reveal season-opening event at the Park. The Model T automobile was built by the Ford Motor Company from 1908 until 1927. Hosted by the Friends of Highland Recreation Area, their day at Haven Hill (former country Estate of Edsel and Eleanor Ford) was a fantastic celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Michigan State Parks!
The members of FOHRA wish to thank the Casual T’s for coming to Haven Hill at Highland State Recreation Area on the weekend of the Michigan State Parks’ 100th Anniversary! Fantastic!
The Friends of Highland Recreation Area volunteers are proud to reveal a first look at the giant newly-rebuilt rear doors for the Edsel Ford Barn. The doors as shown in the photos were completed to this level of construction at a recent FOHRA weekend volunteer work bee. Friends group volunteers support the Michigan Department of Natural Resources with park events, historic restoration projects such as this, and park amenities, among other things.
The historic Barn, which is located in the Haven Hill section of Highland State Recreation Area in Highland/White Lake, Michigan, was once a major structure in a collection of buildings that comprised Edsel and Eleanor Ford’s former Haven Hill estate. Prior to a severe storm in June of 2008 the Barn extended the entire length of the visible concrete pad from north to south. High winds destroyed the long southerly expanse of the Barn, and what now remains is the functional front-end. Therefore the existing rear doors as they now stand were actually inside the Barn, and are now exposed to the elements as exterior doors. These new doors will replace the old doors now visible to Park visitors.
Progress continues on the restoration of this beloved and historic structure. The installation of new doors is targeted to occur prior to the July 27 Haven Hill Festival.
Browse the FOHRA website and Facebook entries, make donations, and come to the Park and volunteer. Look for a list of upcoming events at Highland State Recreation Area at www.fohravolunteers.org.
Headquartered in Highland Township, Michigan, the Friends of Highland Recreation Area is a nonprofit 501c3 organization comprised of Michigan residents, private businesses, local user groups, and various resource organizations, working to combine the existing activities and amenities of Highland State Recreation Area, with the unique historical and cultural background of Edsel and Eleanor Ford's former Haven Hill estate.
Read the article on our website at
Jack and Jay Fitzgerald talk trash and pickup litter at Highland State Recreation Area. Friends of Highland Recreation Area volunteer members Jay and Jack talk about their spring litter cleanup hike film, and picking up litter in the Haven Hill section of Highland State Recreation Area.
A terrific group of Oakland County Audubon Society members, guests, and Friends of Highland Recreation Area members joined up to enjoy a wonderful evening in the spring forests and fields of the Haven Hill Natural Area in Highland State Recreation Area yesterday. At the Goose Meadow shelter the FOHRA volunteers gave everyone a short Haven Hill presentation, informing them of the amazing history of the area and reminding them that 2019 is the 100th Anniversary year of the Michigan State Parks.
Bluebirds, hawks, geese, sandhill cranes, and the sought-after woodcocks were enjoyed by everyone. After a great hike, the group rejoined at Goose Meadow for a snack and an educational message, and then all listened quietly to the amazing sounds of the woodcocks in the nearby fields.
The spring courtship ritual of the male woodcock includes a distinctive evening “peent” sound. Kind of like a short but loud buzzing of an insect repeating every 2 seconds or so. Click HERE to hear the sound. If you’ve been outdoors as the evening arrives in the park I’m sure you’ve heard this sound. Now we know it’s the male woodcock preparing for flight!
The 100 Year Anniversary of our State Parks is arriving soon. Come celebrate by visiting Haven Hill and the Highland State Recreation Area…
“Almost 100 years ago, the Michigan State Park Commission set the course for visitors to enjoy and explore four seasons of fun. May 12, 2019 officially marks the anniversary of state parks, and we are planning a yearlong centennial celebration. Join in and celebrate our rich history and take an energizing look forward as we mark this milestone year with special events, podcasts, historical stories, videos, geocaching and more.” - from our Michigan DNR website.
On Saturday, May 18 come and see the beautiful Haven Hill section of your Highland State Recreation Area, the Cedar Creek Trail, Edsel and Eleanor Ford’s historic Gate House, the Edsel Ford Barn, the picturesque Carriage House, and the Lodge footprint on Haven Hill. The Haven Hill Gate House garage will be open and informational videos and Haven Hill displays will be shown throughout the day.
A fundraising Sale of Antiques and Collectibles will be held at the Edsel Ford Barn throughout the event. All proceeds of the sale will benefit the efforts of the Friends group and their mission to rejuvenate the structures of the historic Haven Hill Estate.