A Quest for Nature, Part 3: Lake Erie Metropark

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I visited Lake Erie Metropark on an unusually foggy day. Visually interesting, sure, but maybe not the best for capturing fine details. Sorry about that.

I heard the yips and yelps, and what sounded like a thousands hand clapping from the shore like a victorious army.

The source was a humongous flock of mute swans, crowding the water near the confluence of the Detroit River and Lake Erie. I was at Lake Erie Metropark, a crown jewel of Downriver, suburban a region that’s probably the closest thing there is to Journey’s infamous “South Detroit”.

The warlike sounds of these loud, inaccurately named swans taking flight was entirely appropriate when you consider that, well… they’re invaders. From Europe. Y’know, like the Red coats. Rich people brought the birds over to beautify their estates, and from there they spread across the country like wildfire.

The Michigan DNR, in particular, isn’t a fan of muted swans. The view the birds as a hindrance to the reintroduction of native trumpeter swans. I even found a pamphlet online they made about mute swans with bizarre, vilifying captions like “Mute swan attacking canoe group” and “Mute swan chasing family of Canada geese”. It was almost so sad and goofy it wasn’t even funny.

Just kind of pathetic.

And, of course, to top it all of, they put a picture of two peaceful, seemingly monogamous and God-fearing trumpeter swans at the bottom. Because, you know, those good trumpeter swans wouldn’t terrorize geese or sleep around.

Personally, I’m not exactly a huge fan of goose poop, so put me in the muted swans aren’t that bad camp. Sorry, DNR. Look, I’m all for promoting native species, but your campaign tactics could use some work.

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Enough about swans, though. You’re here to find out how many Exit 1As out of 5 Lake Erie Metropark gets. That’s the good stuff.

Welp, I’m giving it 3.5/5 Exit 1As (better than stars, by the way). The paved trail is nice, and the views of the Detroit River, Lake Erie, and nearby islands are expansive and mildly awe-inspiring. Lake Erie, like all of the Great Lakes, has a bit of an oceanic grandeur to it. There’s a very  real sense that this a powerful, life-sustaining – and even life-threatening – body of water.

I docked a point because the park itself was a bit too tame for my liking. How much lawn does a park need? I get wanting to provide an open area for picnics and events. But it felt like I was walking around someone’s backyard most of the time, rather than a preserved bit of Michigan nature.

Still, it was a beautiful backyard.

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2 thoughts on “A Quest for Nature, Part 3: Lake Erie Metropark

  1. You’re welcome. People don’t seem to like the mute swan, but from what I’ve read, trumpeter swans sound pretty troublesome, too. It’s just that the mute swan’s status as an invasive species allows DNRs to actively voice everyone’s displeasure.

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