Thursday, December 13, 2012

Historic Bridge County Park

Historic Bridge County Park is a small park on the Kalamazoo River just east of the city of Battle Creek.  It's about 25 miles east of Kalamazoo.  Several iron and steel bridges from the late 19th and early 20th centuries have been moved from nearby counties to this park and restored.  A walking trail connects the bridges as they crisscross a small creek.

The park wasn't open when I tried to visit last year.  Apparently it was closed for nearly two years due to the Kalamazoo River oil spill.  The park reopened this summer.

The park isn't wilderness by any stretch.  I-94 crosses the Kalamazoo River on a modern bridge directly across from the county park and the drone of traffic is constant background noise.  The paved trail along Dickinson Creek was formerly a county road.  An active railroad crosses the park trail and Dickinson Creek on a double-arched historic stone bridge. There are, however, still natural features.  I saw a trout from one of the bridges and a Kingfisher flying overhead.  New interpretive signs along the Kalamazoo River indicate that this area provides good habitat for otters.

The park offers several benches and picnic tables near the river, a picnic shelter, a playground, restrooms, and a boat launch.  The Calhoun County Trailway will connect the park to the Battle Creek Linear Park and the North Country Trail.

I'm not sure the Historic Bridge Park is big enough to be a destination in its own right, but it's close to the Ott Preserve and convenient to other area attractions.  There are, I discovered, bridge enthusiasts who might make this park the center of a trip. says, "The bridges in Historic Bridge Park represent some of the best metal truss bridge restoration work to be found in the country."  They provide a detailed visitor's guide for the park.   

Historic Bridge County Park
14930 9 Mile Rd
Battle Creek, MI 49014


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