Now entering its seventh year, the annual Sprint and Splash is a great way to be active and experience one of Macomb County’s most beautiful natural assets – Lake St. Clair! Held on Saturday, June 16 at Lake St. Clair Metropark, Sprint and Splash includes a variety of fun or competitive events, as well as music, food, craft beer and local vendors.
Sprint and Splash is for people of all ages and abilities. Whether you are just beginning to run or a serious athlete looking for a challenge, this event offers something for everyone. All participants receive a SWAG bag full of goodies, race shirt and finisher medal. Events include:
- 5K Run or Walk
- Duathlon: 5K Run + 2-Mile Paddle (participants may use a kayak or stand-up paddleboard). This can be completed individually or as a relay team
- 2-Mile Paddle (participants may use a kayak or stand-up paddleboard)
- 6-Mile Sanctioned Stand-up Paddleboard
Aside from creating a signature event that draws visitors to our community, the event also raises funds for two special organizations. This year, proceeds will be shared with the Huron-Clinton Metroparks Foundation and the Clinton River Watershed Council. We are very excited about this new partnership with the Metroparks and wanted to share a little more information about who they are, what they do and how you can get involved in this important organization.
The Metroparks Foundation focuses on four major areas for donors to make a charitable gift: conservation, recreation, environmental learning and recycling. All gifts help preserve natural resources, extend interpretive education opportunities at their Nature and Farm Centers and provide clean, safe parks for southeastern Michigan residents. Currently, the foundation is involved in several projects to achieve these goals.
Conservation: This spring, the foundation will plant a Meadow Restoration garden at the Stony Creek Nature Center. They are also trying to manage Oak wilt by purchasing herbicide for all 13 Metroparks.
Recreation: REI is a major donor to the Metroparks Foundation, providing funding to restore and maintain the park’s excellent recreational facilities. Their donations enabled the park to make repairs to the hike and bike trails and install new directional and informational signage. Both Kensington and Stony Creek Metropark have also been able to purchase new equipment like safety vests, paddles, snowshoes and cross-country skis. The newest project will redesign the Shelden Trail at Stony Creek Metropark to convert it a multi-use track trail for mountain bikers, hikers, runners and cross country skiers.
Environmental Education: Partnering with both 3M and the Four County Community Foundation, the foundation has been able to offer field trips to under-served students. This includes transportation from a number of Detroit and Pontiac schools, as well as students from the Macomb School Districts. Students have the opportunity to spend the day at Wolcott Mill and Stony Creek to engage in hands-on projects at both the Nature and Farm Center. The Environmental Discovery Center at Indian Springs Metropark is also a major field trip destination for middle school science classes. Each May, 3M hosts a science symposium and fair for these students. The Foundation also received a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council to upgrade and refurbish their exhibits at Oakwoods Metropark
Recycling: In partnership with Waste Management, the foundation hopes to undertake a pilot recycling project at Lake St. Clair Metropark in 2018-19.
Volunteers are always needed to help with trail maintenance and conservation projects. Last year, a number of volunteers from Ford Motor Company built new picnic tables at Kensington Metropark. The foundation is currently seeking a corporate donor and volunteers to build tables at Lake St. Clair Metropark this summer. To get more details on volunteering, visit this site.
For more information on the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, check out www.metroparks.com. And of course, for more information or to register online for Sprint and Splash, please visit www.sprintandsplash.com
Amanda Minaudo is a senior planner for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.