Area parks a hit for summer fun

Published 1:21 pm Saturday, June 30, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Outdoor activities are always a hit during the summer months. But over the Fourth of July holiday, these activities seem to be most popular, as summer-enthusiasts look for the best way to celebrate the nation's Independence.
Campgrounds, state parks, lakes and picnic areas will be packed from now until next weekend, with families, co-workers and friends gathering for a good time.
Ann Dillishaw of Nub Lake Campground in Niles said they are always busy over the Fourth.
"We have at least 100 people camping. We fill up early. People still call throughout the week and weekend before the holiday, but by then we've already been booked for some time," Dillishaw said.
St. Patrick's County Park in South Bend, Ind. is always filled with fun things to do. Tonight, the second annual Best Book Blast will be held and is sure to be the highlight of the summer season filled with music, food, fun and a large display of fireworks. Those in attendace can plan to enjoy an evening outdoors while celebrating Independence Day. The South Bend Symphony will be performing patriotic selections, beginning around 8 p.m. Cost is $10 per person, while children 12 and under are free. Shelley Branchick, receptionist and program administrator for St. Patrick's County Park, said people should buy tickets as soon as the gates open at 5 p.m.
"I have been selling them left and right. We are going to be very, very busy."
"This is going to be a wonderful evening. The South Bend Symphony concert will begin sometime around 8 p.m. and they will play until 9 or 10 p.m. Fireworks will follow as soon as they are over. We're excited this year, it's going to be a great night," Branchick said.
Also, the park will have canoe and kayak rental on Wednesday, July 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (weather permitting.) Long trip rental ends at 2 p.m. and all equipment must be returned by 7 p.m. A gate entry fee will be in effect.
Short trip (four-hour maximum) rental fee is $23 per canoe and the long trip (maximum of five hours) fee is $30 per canoe. Rental fees for one person kayaks are $18 short trip and $25 long trip. All fees include canoe/kayak, paddles, required life jackets and shuttle service.
Parental signature is required for those under the age of 18.
St. Pat's also has other events going on in July, including Twilight Canoeing, which will take place at dusk on July 26.
Because residents like to get out and enjoy everything our state, and surrounding areas, have to offer, July has been named National Recreation and Parks month in Michigan
"July is the busiest month of the year for the parks and recreation industry. On July 4 each year, there are more people in attendance at our nation's parks and recreation facilities than on any other single day of the year," said Michael J. Maisner, executive director for the Michigan Recreation and Park Association.