FAQs & Regulations

Park Rules

INGHAM COUNTY PARK RULES AND REGULATIONS
Adopted June 27, 1998 - Modified June 12, 2007

Section 1. Ordinance Title.

The title of this Ordinance shall be the Ingham County Park Rules and Regulations.

Section 2. Definitions.

“Authorized Local Official” means the Parks Director, Parks Law Enforcement Officers, or other personnel of the County legally authorized to issue municipal civil infraction citations

“Business Day” means a day of the year, exclusive of a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

“Citation” means a written complaint or notice to appear in District Court upon which an authorized local official records the occurrence or existence of one (1) or more violations of this Ordinance by the party cited.

“Civil Infraction” means a parking violation prohibited by this Ordinance, for which civil sanctions may be ordered.

“County” means the County of Ingham, Michigan.

“District Court” means the 55th Judicial District Court.

“Misdemeanor” means a violation of this Ordinance which is not designated as a municipal civil infraction by this Ordinance.

“Municipal Civil Infraction” means an act or omission that is prohibited by this Ordinance, but which is not a misdemeanor under this Ordinance, and for which civil sanctions including without limitations, fines, damages, expenses and costs may be ordered, as authorized by Chapter 87 of Act No. 236 of the Public Acts of 1961, as amended.

“Municipal Civil Infraction Action” means a civil action in which the defendant is alleged to be responsible for a municipal civil infraction.

“State” means the State of Michigan.

“Violation” means an act which is prohibited by this Ordinance. A violation shall include any omission or failure to act where the action is required by this Ordinance.

Section 3. Park Hours.

A. All parks under the jurisdiction of the County shall be open one half hour before sunrise for pedestrian access, 8:00am for vehicle access, and close one half hour after sunset, unless otherwise posted or unless permission has been granted by the County or its designated representative.

B. Any park or park lands, or portions thereof, may be closed entirely or closed to certain uses for such period of time as may be determined by the County or its designated representative.

C. No person or vehicle shall be within any park except when such park or portion thereof is open unless camping is approved by a permit issued by the County or its designated representatives.

D. All Potter Park Zoo visitors are required to leave within 60 minutes after posted closing times.

Section 4. Conduct on Park Property.

A. Preservation of Property. No person shall willfully disturb, destroy, deface, alter, change, or remove any part of any park or any facility, building, sign, structure, equipment, utility or other property found herein.

B. Preservation of Natural Resources and Plant Life. No person shall:

(1) Remove, or cause to be removed, any sod, earth, humus, peat, boulder, gravel or sand found within any park without the written permission of the County or its authorized representatives.

(2) Cut, remove, dig, injure, pick, damage, deface or destroy any tree, flower, shrub or plant, whether alive or dead, found within the park without written permission of the County or its authorized representatives.

C. Preservation of Wildlife. No person shall hunt, trap, bait, pursue, injure, feed, kill, or in any manner disturb any amphibian, reptile, bird, or mammal on any land or waters under the jurisdiction of the County unless written permission has been granted by the County or its designated representative.

D. Exotic Species. No person shall introduce an exotic species into county park lands and waters, except as authorized by the Parks Board. Exotic species are defined as “all species of plants and animals not native to Michigan.”

E. Fires.

(1) No person shall build a fire within any park except in grills or fire rings provided for such purpose. Fires in the beach area are expressly forbidden. Firewood may be collected to be used within the parks only if it is dead and not standing.

F. Disposal or Refuse. No person shall:

(1) Deposit or abandon in any park or in any waters in or adjacent to any park or on the ice thereof any garbage, refuse, trash, waste or other obnoxious material, except, in receptacles provided for such purposes.

(2) Bring into any park refuse or litter originating outside any park for the purpose of depositing such in park receptacles.

G. Fireworks, Firearms and Other Weapons. No person shall:

(1) Have in their possession or control any slingshot, BB Gun, paint ball guns, fireworks or explosives within any park.

(2) Have in their possession or control any bow or arrow within any park except by prior written permission of the County.

(3) Discharge any rifle, shotgun, pellet gun, air rifle, pistol, or other firearm in any park for any reason, provided that this rule shall not apply to any law enforcement officer acting in the course of his or her employment.

H. Alcoholic Beverages.

(1) No person shall have in their possession within the park boundaries any alcoholic beverages stronger than beer or wine.

(2) Alcoholic beverages must be brought to the park in original containers, and said containers shall not exceed 67.6 fluid ounces (2 liters) in capacity.

(3) All allowed alcoholic beverages as defined shall be confined to the picnic and ball field area within the parks unless written permission has been granted by the County or the area is otherwise posted.

(4) Possession and/or use of alcoholic beverages within Lake Lansing Park-South, Rayner Park, Burchfield Park winter sports area, Hawk Island County Park, the Kenneth A. Hope Soccer Complex, Potter Park, and Potter Park Zoo is prohibited.

(5) Notwithstanding any provision set forth to the contrary, beer or wine may be sold for consumption on the premises, and may be consumed, at public or private events or functions within the grounds of Potter Park Zoo Exploration and Discovery Center and Plaza, provided:

a. Dispensing of beer or wine shall be conducted by persons or entities not affiliated with Potter Park Zoo or any of its auxiliary organizations;

b. No beer or wine may be sold or dispensed during hours when the Potter Park Zoo is open to the general public;

c. For sales of beer and wine for consumption on the premises an appropriate license shall be obtained from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission; furthermore, prior approval from the Parks and Recreation Commission and/or their designee is required.

d. Intoxicating liquors (i.e. distilled rather than fermented alcoholic beverages) may not be sold on the premises.

I. Disorderly Conduct.

(1) No person shall be a disorderly person within the park boundaries. A person is a disorderly person if the person is any of the following:

a. A person who is intoxicated in a public place and who is either endangering directly the safety of another person or of property or is acting in a manner that causes a public disturbance.

b. A person who is engaged in indecent or obscene conduct in a public place.

(2) No person shall interfere with any park employee in the discharge of his or her duties, or fail or refuse to obey any lawful command issued by them.

J. Audio Devices.

(1) No person shall use or operate any radio, musical instrument, phonograph, television or other machine or device that produces or reproduces sound in such a manner that produces excessive noise. The use of such a machine or device such that the sound produced therefrom is audible in any direction at a distance in excess of 100 feet, shall be deemed a prima facie violation of this section, unless written permission has been obtained from the County Parks or its designated representatives.

(2) No person, group or organization using any picnic shelter within any Ingham County Park, with or without having reserved or rented said picnic shelter, shall use or operate any radio, musical instrument, phonograph, television, compact disc player, tape player or other machine or device that produces or reproduces sound or music, regardless of its audio volume, within, or within 150 feet of, any picnic shelter, unless specific written permission has been obtained from the County or its designated representative. Such written permission shall be in the form of a County-approved Special Event Permit, and shall include the name of the person responsible for the control of such equipment, the type of equipment authorized for use, hours of use and any other information or restrictions regarding the audio equipment's use that shall be deemed necessary by the Ingham County Parks Department. This rule does not apply to the use of a machine or device equipped with a headphone or an earphone where the sound or music would be limited to or confined to the user in control of the machine or device while the headphone or earphone is in use for its intended purpose. The responsible party named in the written permit shall be on site and available to park officials at all times while the audio equipment is in use. Such permit may be revoked at any time by the County or its designated representative.

K. Other.

(1) No person shall use metal detectors in any turf areas within the County park system.

(2) No person shall play frisbee and/or ball games within the beach areas of Lake Lansing Park-South, Hawk Island County Park, and William M. Burchfield Park.

(3) No person shall operate a hot air balloon or model rocket vehicle, model aircraft, or model watercraft, which are powered by battery, gas, fuel or fuel pellet, on any park lands without the permission of the County or its designated representative.

(4) The launching of trailered watercraft is prohibited at Hawk Island County Park without written permission of the County or its designated representative. Non-motorized watercraft that are capable of being hand carried are permitted to be launched at Hawk Island County Park at designated locations only. Non-electric motors are prohibited at Hawk Island County Park.

Section 5. Potter Park Zoo.

A. No person under the age of 15 shall be allowed entrance in to the zoo, unless accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age.

B. All school groups and youth organizations (high school and below) must be supervised at all times by teachers, aides, or parents while in the zoo.

C. No bicycles, skates, rollerblades, or skateboards are allowed in the zoo.

D. All zoo visitors must remain behind public barricades.

E. No person shall add any material to any exhibit, facility, building, structure or other property found herein.

F. No person shall in any manner willfully disturb any animal found herein.

G. Zoo visitors are not allowed to feed zoo animals except in designated areas.

H. Reckless operation of ADA vehicles is prohibited.

Section 6. Swimming, Bathing and Wading.

A. No person shall swim, bathe or wade except within those areas so designated, and swimming is prohibited within those designated areas when so posted.

B. Children 8 years of age and under shall be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age while in the swimming area of County park beaches.

C. Beach and swim areas during the regular summer season shall be open from 9:00 a.m. to sunset, unless otherwise posted.

D. Air mattresses, inner tubes, life jackets or any other devices inflatable or otherwise, used in the aid of swimming are prohibited unless otherwise posted. U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices may be worn by individuals whose physical disability is such that without such aid use of the swimming area would be impossible.

E. Alcoholic beverages, glass containers and pets are not allowed within the posted limits of the beach area.

Section 7. Dogs and Pets.

A. Dogs or other pets shall be kept on a leash no greater than 6 feet in length. The only exception is within the designated off-leash areas.

B. All dogs or other pets must be under the immediate control of a responsible adult and shall not be allowed to disturb or annoy park visitors.

C. Dogs or other pets are allowed in Lake Lansing Park-North, Burchfield Park, Baldwin Park and McNamara Landing, except in areas posted. Pets are not allowed in Lake Lansing Park-South, the Lake Lansing Boat Launch, Hawk Island County Park, Rayner Park, the Kenneth A. Hope Soccer Complex, Riverbend Natural Area at Burchfield Park, Potter Park Zoo, and Potter Park picnic area unless otherwise posted. Pets are not allowed within the designated bathing beaches, park buildings, shelters and on the ski trails when they are open for skiing. Dogs or other pets may be allowed as a condition of an approved Special Event Application, or when transporting a dog or pet directly from an automobile to a watercraft at the Lake Lansing Boat Launch.

D. Pets must not be left unattended or left in a vehicle or trailer. Owners must clean up pet droppings.

E. Guide or leader dogs, hearing dogs, and service dogs for disabled persons are permitted in all areas, asprovided under Michigan Compiled Laws 750.502c, as amended.

Section 9. Horses.

It shall be a violation for a person to ride, lead or allow a horse to be upon any property not designated as a horse trail which is administered by or under the jurisdiction of the County unless prior written permission has bee obtained from the County or its designated representatives.

Section 10.

Bicycles shall be permitted on designated trails only. No person shall operate a bicycle upon any sidewalk or trail which is posted against such use.

Section 11. Natural Area and Nature Trails.

A. Nature trails shall be for pedestrian traffic only, unless otherwise posted.

B. Fires are prohibited within any nature study areas unless written permission has been granted by the County or its designated representatives.

C. Bicycles, horses and pets are also prohibited within such areas.

Section 12. Motor Vehicles.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to:

(1) Operate a motor driven vehicle in excess of fifteen (15) miles per hour within the park, except where otherwise posted.

(2) Operate any motor driven vehicle of any kind or nature except on designated public roads.

(3) Operate a motor driven vehicle in violation of posted traffic control signs or devices.

(4) Operate an unlicensed motor vehicle upon any park road or parking area.

B. State Laws. All motor driven vehicles operated on park roadways or parking lots shall be subject to the laws of the State of Michigan as set forth in the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code.

Section 13. Parking.

A. Parking in Prohibited Areas. It shall be unlawful for any person to:

(1) Park any motor vehicle within any area not designated as a parking area or space.

(2) Stop, stand or park any motor vehicle at any place where official signs prohibit.

(3) Park any motor vehicle in any space designated by sign for use by a disabled person without displaying an official placard or registration plate issued to a disabled person.

B. Use of Parking Areas.

(1) The county park parking lots in all county parks are hereby closed to all park activities except parking of vehicles and entry and exit from vehicles. No park land usage, including, but not limited to, picnicking, frisbee throwing, games or other activities shall be permitted in the county parking lots of county parks. All park activities except traversing to and from county parking lots and/or parking of vehicles in case of emergencies are prohibited.

(2) When posted, parking at the Lake Lansing Boat Launch is hereby restricted on weekends and holidays to vehicles with boats only.

C. Obstructing Traffic.

(1) It shall be unlawful for the operator of any vehicle to stop, stand, or park such vehicle upon any roadway or in any parking area in such a manner as to form an obstruction to traffic.

(2) Whenever any police officer finds a vehicle unattended upon a roadway or in a parking area and where such vehicle constitutes an obstruction to traffic, such officer is hereby authorized to provide for the removal of such vehicle to the nearest garage or other place of safety.

(3) The necessary costs for such removal shall become a lien upon such vehicle and the person into whose custody the vehicle is given may retain it until all expenses involved have been paid.

Section 14. Commercial Activities and Advertising.

No person or organization shall advertise, vend, sell, post or distribute any service, food, beverage, merchandise, commercial leaflet, or poster within any park, except by prior written permit from the County or its designated representatives.

Section 15. Camping.

No person shall camp within any park except in those areas or buildings designated for that purpose, unless permission is provided in writing by the County or its representatives.

Section 16. Fees, Charges and Permits.

A. It shall be a violation for any person to use any facility, building, land area or equipment for which a fee or charge has been established by the County without payment of such fee or charge.

B. It shall be a violation for any person, group or organization to occupy, use or fail to vacate any facility, building land area or equipment for which a permit has been granted to another person, group or organization.

Section 17. Violations and Penalties.

A. Any person violating any provision of this Ordinance, except provisions of the Motor Vehicle Code incorporated herein, parking violations, and Section 4.H.(1), shall be responsible for a municipal civil infraction. Repeat violations under this Ordinance shall be subject to increased fines or misdemeanor penalties as provided in Sections 18 and 19 of this Ordinance.

B. Any person violating the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Code shall be subject to the fines and penalties set forth in that Code. Any person violating any provision of Sec.13.A regarding parking violations shall be responsible for a civil infraction.

C. Persons continuing to violate any of the above provisions after being cited may also be evicted from said park or park land for the remainder of the day of the offense.

Section 18. Municipal Civil Infraction Citations; Issuance and Service.

Municipal civil infraction citations shall be issued and served by an authorized local official as follows:

A. The time for appearance specified in a citation shall be within ten (10) days after the citation is issued.

B. The place for appearance specified in a citation shall be the District Court.

C. Each citation shall be numbered consecutively and shall be in a form approved by the State Court Administrator. The original citation shall be filed with the District Court. Copies of the citation shall be retained by the County and issued to the alleged violator as provided by Section 8705 of Act No. 236 of the Public Acts of 1961, as amended.

D. A citation for a municipal civil infraction signed by an authorized local official shall be treated as made under oath if the violation alleged in the citation occurred in the presence of the official signing the complaint and if the citation contains the following statement immediately above the date and signature of the official: "I declare under the penalties of perjury that the statements above are true to the best of my information, knowledge and belief."

E. An authorized local official who witnesses a person commit a municipal civil infraction shall prepare and subscribe, as soon as possible and as completely as possible, an original and required copies of a citation.

F. An authorized local official may issue a citation to a person if:

(1) Based upon investigation, the official has reasonable cause to believe that the person is responsible for a municipal civil infraction; or

(2) Based upon investigation of a complaint by someone who allegedly witnessed the person commit a municipal civil infraction, the official has reasonable cause to believe that the person is responsible for an infraction and if the County Prosecuting Attorney approves in writing the issuance of the citation.

G. Municipal civil infraction citations shall be served personally by serving a copy of the citation upon the alleged violator.

Section 19. Municipal Civil Infraction Citations; Contents.

A. A municipal civil infraction citation shall name the County as plaintiff and shall contain the name and address of the defendant, the municipal civil infraction alleged, the place where the defendant shall appear in court, the telephone number of the court, and the time at or by which the appearance shall be made.

B. Further, the citation shall inform the defendant that he or she may do one of the following:

(1) Admit responsibility for the municipal civil infraction by mail, in person, or by representation, at or by the time specified for appearance.

(2) Admit responsibility for the municipal civil infraction "with explanation" by mail by the time specified for appearance or, in person, or by representation.

(3) Deny responsibility for the municipal civil infraction by doing either of the following:

a) Appearing in person for an informal hearing before the Judge or Magistrate of the District Court without the opportunity of being represented by an attorney, unless a formal hearing before the District Court's Judge is requested by the County.

b) Appearing in the District Court for a formal hearing before the District Court's Judge, with the opportunity of being represented by an attorney.

(4) The citation shall also inform the defendant of all of the following:

a) That if the defendant desires to admit responsibility "with explanation" in person or by representation, the defendant must apply to the District Court in person, by mail, by telephone, or by representation within the time specified for appearance and obtain a scheduled date and time for an appearance.

b) That if the defendant desires to deny responsibility, the defendant must apply to the District Court in person, by mail, by telephone, or by representation within the time specified for appearance and obtain a scheduled date and time to appear for a hearing, unless a hearing date is specified on the citation.

c) That a hearing shall be an informal hearing unless a formal hearing is requested by the defendant or the County.

d) That, at an informal hearing, the defendant must appear in person before the District Court's Judge or Magistrate, without the opportunity of being represented by an attorney.

e) That, at a formal hearing, the defendant must appear in person before the District Court's Judge with the opportunity of being represented by an attorney.

(5) The citation shall contain a notice in boldfaced type that the failure of the defendant to appear within the time specified in the citation or at the time scheduled for a hearing or appearance is a misdemeanor and will result in the entry of a default judgment against the defendant on the municipal civil infraction.

Section 20. Establishment of Schedule of Civil Fines.

A. A schedule of civil fines for violations of this Ordinance is hereby established. The fines for the violations shall be as follows:

(1) For the first citation issued to a defendant who admits or is found by the District Court to have violated this Ordinance, the civil infraction fine shall be $50.00 for the first violation cited and an additional $50.00 for each additional violation listed within the citation, up to, but not to exceed, $500.00. In addition to such fines, the defendant shall pay such costs and damages and expenses as may be set by the District Court, as authorized by Section 8727 of Act No. 236 of the Public Acts of 1961, as amended.

(2) For a second citation issued to a defendant who admits or is found by the District Court to have committed repeated violations of this Ordinance, the civil infraction fine shall be up to $500.00 for each repeat violation. As used in this section, "repeat violations" means a second violation of the same requirement or provision (i) committed by a defendant within any one (1) year period, and (ii) for which the defendant admits responsibility or is determined to be responsible. In addition to such fines, the defendant shall pay such costs and damages and expenses as may be set by the District Court, as authorized by Section 8727 of Act No. 236 of the Public Acts of 1961, as amended.

B. Failure to appear at the District Court within the time specified in a citation or at the time scheduled for a hearing or an appearance is a misdemeanor and will result in entry of a default judgment against the defendant on the municipal civil infraction.

C. Failure to comply with an order, judgment or default in payment of a civil fine, costs, damages, or expenses, so ordered may result in enforcement actions, including, but not limited to, imprisonment on civil contempt which shall not exceed one (1) day for each $30.00 due, collections, placement of liens or other remedies as permitted by Chapter 87 of Act 236 of Public Acts of 1961, as amended.

D. A municipal civil infraction is not a lesser included offense of a criminal offense or an ordinance violation that is not a civil infraction.

E. Civil infractions for violations of Sec.11.A. regarding parking are punishable by a fine of $50 plus costs for a first offense, $100 plus costs for a second offense, and $250 plus costs for a third offense, except that violations of Sec.13.A.(3) shall be punishable by a fine of $250 plus costs for a first or subsequent offense.

Section 21. Misdemeanor Violations.

A. Any person convicted of violating Section 4.H.(1) relating to disorderly persons shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

B. A third and subsequent repeated violation of this Ordinance shall be a misdemeanor. As used in this section, "repeat violations" means a third or subsequent violation of the same requirement or provision (i) committed by a defendant within any one (1) year period, and (ii) for which the defendant admits responsibility or is determined by the District Court to be responsible.

C. Actions or omissions which are a misdemeanor under this Ordinance shall be punishable upon conviction by a fine of not to exceed $500.00 (plus other costs), imprisonment for a term of not to exceed ninety (90) days, or both.

Section 22. Construction.

When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future. Words in the singular include the plural and words in the plural include the singular. Masculine shall include the feminine and neuter. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directive. Words or terms not defined herein shall be interpreted as defined in statutes, regulations or codes to which they apply or if not so defined shall be defined in the manner or their common meaning. Headings shall be deemed for convenience and shall not limit the scope of any section of this Ordinance.

Section 23. Severability.

The various parts, sections, subsections, paragraphs, sentences, phrases and clauses of this Ordinance are hereby declared to be severable. If any part, section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, phrase or clause is adjudged unconstitutional or invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, it shall be considered severed from this Ordinance and shall not be construed as affecting the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance.

Section 24. Repealer Clause.

Any ordinance or parts of ordinance in conflict herewith are hereby repealed only to the extent necessary to give this Ordinance full force and effect.

Section 25. Savings Clause.

This Ordinance does not affect rights and duties matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun, before its effective date.

Section 26. Effective Date.

This Ordinance shall become effective on the 12th day of June, 2007.

General Information

Q: What is the policy on bringing grills to the park? 

* Grills may be brought to the parks if the bottoms sits a minimum of 18" above the grass. NO Hibachis or anything that sits on the grass or any table are allowed in the park to ensure safety of all patrons.

Q: Can we put a tent/canopy over the picnic tables?

* We ask pop up canopies only be used, and in order to prevent turf damage that stakes not be put into the ground. Only one 10'x10' canopy per group is allowed. Canopy not allowed in beach area or at the Hawk Island Splash Pad.

Q: When was the last time you had problems with the water at any/all of the parks? How can I be sure that the water is safe for my children?

* Summer of 1994 was the last time we had a problem, and we test the quality of the water during the summer season every week.

Q: How difficult are the ski trails?

* Most trails are beginner level, however we have some advanced trails available.

Q: Which parks allow alcohol?

* Beer and wine is permitted, if in original containers of 2 liters or less at Burchfield Park and Lake Lansing Park - North. Keg beer is prohibited in all parks. Alcohol is prohibited at Lake Lansing Park - South and Hawk Island Park.

Q: Do you need an ID to rent pedal boats?

* Yes, a valid driver's license or state ID is required.

Q: Can metal detectors be used at the parks?

* Metal detectors are allowed on the sand areas and water only. Lifeguards must be present if a person goes in the water at Burchfield Park, Lake Lansing Park South, or the Hawk Island Park beaches. All turf areas are off limits. Metal detectors are allowed in a playgrounds, volleyball courts, and parking lots.

Q: Can I use a mosquito fogger at the park when I reserve a shelter?

*Yes, mosquito foggers are okay unless you are sharing the shelter with another party---you must ask the other group if it is okay before spraying. Mosquito foggers can be purchased at Menards, Lowes, Target, etc.

Q: Is scuba diving at the parks allowed?

*Scuba diving at Lake Lansing South is allowed as long as you access the lake from a boat. Scuba diving will not be permitted starting from the beach area, divers must use a boat and access lake elsewhere. At Hawk Island, scuba diving is prohibited.

Shelter Reservations

Q: Which shelters are Handicap Accessible or easily accessible by the elderly?

* Burchfield Park = All Shelters
* Hawk Island Park = All shelters
* Lake Lansing Park - South = All Shelters 
* Lake Lansing Park- North= All Shelters 

Q: What is the policy regarding the waiving of shelter fees?

* Shelter fees may be waived for Ingham County school groups and non-profit youth organizations during weekdays, Monday through Friday.

Q: What is the policy regarding shelter fee refunds?

* In the event a party wishes to cancel their reservation, notice of cancellation must be given no less than fourteen days prior to date of the event. A $21 administrative fee will be withheld from all refunds. No refunds will be made for reservations cancelled less than fourteen days prior to the event date. No refunds are given for inclement weather/rain.

Q: Are musical instruments allowed? Is there any way around the Audio policy?

No person, group or organization using any shelter within any Ingham County Park, with or without having reserved or rented a shelter, shall use or operate any radio, musical instrument, phonograph, television, compact disc player, tape player or other machine or device that produces or reproduces sound or music, regardless of its audio volume, within, or within 150 feet of, any shelter, unless specific written permission has been obtained from the Ingham County Parks Department. Such written permission shall be in the form of a County-approved Special Event Permit.

Q: Which shelters have electricity?

* All shelters at all parks have electricity, EXCEPT Hawk Island Beach Cabana. It is recommended no more than two appliances per reservation be used. We cannot guarantee the dependability of the electricity beyond that limit.

Q: How can I get into the park early to start my pig roaster?

* Arrangements must be made with the park manager. In order to do this, please call the parks office at 676-2233 in advance.

Q: Can I reserve the softball diamonds, volleyball or horseshoe equipment?

* No, volleyball and horseshoe equipment are available on a first-come, first-serve basis only, regardless of shelter reservation.  The softball diamond at Burchfield Park and Lake Lansing North may be reserved Monday-Friday ONLY.  Please call 517-676-2233 to reserve.  For organized leagues, or groups needing multiple dates, a Special Event Application will be required.

Lake Lansing Parks

Q: How far is Lake Lansing South from Lake Lansing North in walking distance?

* Although you may wish to swim while at Lake Lansing North, it is advised that you drive your car to the swimming beach at Lake Lansing South. The distance is 2 miles.

Q: What kind of fish are in Lake Lansing?

* In Lake Lansing there are Bass, Bluegill and some Pike.

Hawk Island Park

Q: Can I bring my dog/beer into the park?

* No, alcoholic beverages are prohibited in the park.  

Dogs are allowed at Hawk Island with the exception of the area between the playground and the concession stand, which comprises the beach and Splash Pad® area. All dogs must be on a 6 foot or less leash and under the immediate control of a responsible person.

Q: Is there a playground at Hawk Island?

* A large community built creative playground was constructed in the spring of 2004.

Q: What kind of boat rentals do you offer at the park?

* There are pedal boat rentals as well as rowboat rentals. Boats are first-come, first-serve.

Q: Can I bring my own boat to Hawk Island?

* Yes, at Hawk Island visitors can bring in their own water craft. Motors are not allowed, except non-gas trolling motors. Since there is no boat ramp, boats must be carried from the parking lot to the water. Boats MUST stay OFF the island.

Canoes/Kayaks/Rowboats & Pedal Boats

Q: How many canoes and kayaks do you have at Burchfield Park?

* 35 canoes, 12 single kayaks, and 8 double kayaks.

Q: How long are your canoes?

* 16' 9"

Q: What are the canoes used at Burchfield Park made of ?

*Canoes are made of aluminum and plastic.

Q: When are canoe/kayak trips or transportation available?

* River levels permitting, canoe/kayak trips are available from mid-May to Labor Day and on weekends only in September. In October trips are available on weekends by reservation only on weekends only. Please call 517-676-2233 for more information.

Q: Can I take my dog with me in the canoes?

* You may take a dog in the canoe, he/she will count as one person out of three total. County vans will not transport dogs to a landing site.

* You may take a dog in the canoe, he/she will count as one person out of three total. County vans will not transport dogs to a landing site.

* For trips in which the Parks Department transports you must rent at least one of our canoes and there is a five dollar charge per boat transport. You must also be part of a group that has reserved canoes.

Q: When does hourly canoe rental start and when does it end? How late in the season can I canoe?

* The season beginning and ending dates vary with the river's water level. Contact the Parks Office for verification at 517-676-2233.

Q: How old do I have to be to rent a canoe or kayak?

* Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied in the same boat by an adult 18 years or older. Children 14-17 must be accompanied in the same boat or in an adjacent boat by an adult 18 years or older.

Q: Where can I find information on canoeing elsewhere in Michigan?

* For a free directory of canoe liveries in the state, contact the Recreational Canoeing Association, PO Box 668, Indian River, MI 49749, (616) 238-7868.

Q: Where can I rent a pedal boat or rowboat?

* Pedal boats can be rented at Hawk Island Park, Burchfield Park, and Lake Lansing Park-South. Rowboats can be rented at Hawk Island Park. 

Q: Who can rent a pedal boat or rowboat?

* Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult at Burchfield Park, Hawk Island, and Lake Lansing Park South. A picture ID is required.

Dogs

Does my dog need a leash?

Dogs much be on a 6' or less leash at all times.

Q: Where may I walk my dog at each park?

* Burchfield - No dogs allowed at Riverbend Natural Area, allowed in Burchfield Park up to Deer Run Shelter, must keep pets off the swimming beach and out of the pond. Dogs allowed at picnic areas and ball field.

*McNamara Canoe Landing - Dogs are allowed on trails up to the cutoff point, signs are posted at this point, dogs are allowed in the pond at this area.

* Hawk Island Park - Dogs are allowed at Hawk Island on a leash no greater than 6 feet in length with the exception of the area between the playground and the concession stand, which comprises the beach and Splash Pad® area. 

* Lake Lansing Park - South - No dogs allowed in the park

* Lake Lansing Boat Launch - No dogs allowed in the park

* Lake Lansing Park - North - Dogs are allowed in the park and on the trails.

*** All dogs are welcome at Soldan Dog Park, Dansville Game Area, Hughes Lake & Rose Lake Game Area

Q: Why can't I walk my dog at Lake Lansing Park - South?

* In this park dogs are not allowed because of the beach and the abundance of people that occupy the park on a regular basis.

Q: Why can't my dog swim at Lake Lansing Park - South and Hawk Island?

* Dogs are not allowed at Lake Lansing South or the boat launch due to the large number of visitors that come into this park and the visitors near the lake are barefoot and don't want to step in dog waste. For sanitary reasons, we also prohibit swimming dogs.

Swimming Beaches

Q: What flotation devices are allowed in the water?

* All flotation devices must be Coast Guard Approved for the following reasons:

  • they are often used as a substitute for proper parental supervision
  • they enable both swimmers and non-swimmers to reach water that is over their heads where an accidental drowning can occur
  • improperly worn or fitted life jackets do not insure against drowning.
  • the swimmer can become to dependent on the flotation device.

Q: When do the beaches open and close for the season?

* Beaches officially open Memorial Day (including the Saturday and Sunday before the Monday Holiday) to Labor Day.

Q: What are beach hours?

* Beach hours (weather permitting and when lifeguards are on duty, unless posted otherwise at the park) are 12:00pm to 8:00pm for Lake Lansing South and Hawk Island seven days a week; Burchfield Park is open 12:00pm to 8:00pm on Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays ONLY, the beach is closed for swimming or wading Monday-Friday.

Q: How does bad weather affect the beach / Hawk Island Splash Pad?

*The beach will close if the following conditions arise: thunder-close for 30 minutes / lightning-close for 45 minutes. Hawk Island Splash Pad is CLOSED and is non-operational when raining.

Park History

Hawk Island County Park History

Hawk Island County Park originated as a gravel pit that was established in the early 1940's by Sablain's Gravel Co. Gravel was mined and used for cement. Water filled the pit from underground aquifiers to form a pond. An island formed in the center of the pit from mined calcium carbonate by-products. Wild fish, turtle, and plant populations were established by seasonal flooding from nearby Sycamore Creek. The pond currently covers 30 acres and has a mean depth of 13.5 ft and maximum depth of 27 ft at a maximum water level.

In 1994, the Ingham County Board of Commissioners appropriated $300,000 to match a $900,000 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant to acquire the property known as the Sablain Gravel Pit.

In 1998, preliminary work was completed including the diversion of a storm drain from the lake to Sycamore Creek, the construction of a dike and spillway along the Sycamore Creek, the installation of perimeter fence and the planning of approximately 126 trees to provide a natural buffer along the eastern boundary.

In 1999, Phase I included restoration, and the first phase of a water resource oriented park, including picnic areas/shelters, sledding hills, cross-country ski rentals, boardwalks, and fishing docks, playground, roads and parking, and the maintenance building.

In 2000, Phase II included the construction of the swimming beach, including underwater grading, bathhouse/boat rental/snack bar, sand volleyball courts, additional fishing piers and boardwalks, a children's play area, and boat dock.

In 2001, the pond was partially drained to install a sand beach in the southeast corner. In July 2002, Hawk Island County Park opened to the public for swimming, boating, picnicking, and fishing.

A community built playground was added to the park in 2004 and a state-of-the-art Splash Pad® opened in August 2006.



Lake Lansing South History


Lake Lansing, originally known as Pine Lake, served as a hunting and fishing ground for Indian tribes for centuries. Burial mounds have been found around the lake that pre-date the Chippewa Indians and Chief Okemos. The lake provided abundant fishing, and the surrounding woods were a source of wild game.

In 1836 Obed Marshall and his brother, both physicians, likely the first white settlers in Meridian Township, purchased 160 acres south of the lake and land along the west shore to the outlet. They built a log cabin on the west side of the lake in 1837, which was the second home constructed in Ingham County. (The first was in Stockbridge in 1834.)

The lake was described by early writers as being clear, and well stocked with various kinds of fish. The shores were timbered on the north and east by yellow pine, the only sizeable tract in Ingham County. Hickory and oaks wooded the north and west shores.

During the next several decades, the land around, but not immediately on, the lake was settled and farmed. The railroad came through Haslett, near the south end of the lake in 1879/80, making Haslett a depot for farmers to ship their livestock and produce. Water was pumped from the lake by windmills through iron pipes to fill the water tower that refilled the steam engines.

The lake became a popular recreation site in the late 19th century. People came by horse and buggy, by train, and after 1905, by trolley. North of the railroad station was the Town Dock on the lake, accessible by a plank tressel. There one could catch a boat to the north shore resorts.

In the 1880’s the Spiritualists created a park on the west side of the lake as a summer encampment,. The park was named Haslett Park for Mr. James Haslett, who spearheaded the project. The camp attracted thousands of people during the month of August from about 1882 until it gradually declined in the early 1900’s. It covered 20 acres. The auditorium, dedicated in 1888, could seat 2000, (and was still in use housing the “Dodgem” in 1958). There was a dormitory/hotel, dining hall, Séance Hall, barn for horses, and boating facilities. Tents could be rented, or people brought their own. Just outside the camp was the Medium House, with 16 rooms. Only mediums were allowed to enter this building.

In the early 20th century Pine Lake became a fashionable summer colony, with summer homes built by prominent Lansing families such as R.E. Olds, whose home still stands on “the bluffs”. (It was later used as a YWCA camp until it returned to private ownership). However, by 1929, with the prevalence of the automobile, the trolley stopped running and the lake became less fashionable. The Spiritualist camp was sold to the Haslett Park Association, and eventually it became an amusement park.

On the north shore, where the condos now stand, was the Pine Lake House, built in the 1870’s and used as a resort hotel. The grounds included a dance hall, 2 barns, ice house, bath house, and boat houses. A small steamer was launched in 1876, to be succeeded by the steamer “Belle Haslett” in 1881, which carried 150 people for pleasure rides as well as running from the town dock to the north shore hotels. (There was a second small hotel, the Pulver House). A sidewheeler, “Little Mac”, succeeded the “Belle Haslett” in 1902.

Rumor has it that Mickey Cohen, the notorious gangster of the 1920’s, used to enjoy summers at the lake, and was “a perfect gentleman”.

The Pine Lake House burned down in 1929. It was replaced by the Dells Ballroom, where many big-name bands played, and which was in existence until 1986. The condos were then built at the site.

A group of Lansing businessmen built a social club in the middle of the lake in the 1890’s, called the Izzer Club. It was two stories, built on pilings, and had a trap door through which an unwitting guest might take an unexpected dunking. (It is rumored that during prohibition, the trap door was used to hide liquor from the feds). The following story was written in the State Journal by George S.Alderton: “Charley Downey went to Kentucky to look over some horses to buy. Each horse had a long record. Mr. Downey listened patiently, then said, ‘I am not interested the least bit in has-beens. I am not concerned with what any horse was. What I’m looking for is an “izzer”.’ So the Izzer Club.”

The pine forest on the east side of the lake had been logged out by the early 1900’s. Logs were cut in winter and sledded over the ice of the lake to the rail depot.

Hickory Island was platted in 1908, after Carlton Street connected the island to the mainland in 1907. Indian Island was reached only by boat. The first dam at the outlet was placed circa 1909. Frank Johnson, a printer by trade, lived on Hickory Island and in the 1920’s bought up land along the east side of the lake. He was responsible for the creation of Lake Drive, dredging shoreline and swamp in the process. He platted Sunset Cove in the 1920’s and North End Plat, Perry Road Addition, and Indian Island in 1947. It was “Pine Lake Johnson” who pushed to have the name of the lake changed to Lake Lansing, in 1927.

The South Park was bought in 1974 by Ingham County after the amusement park shut down. Fire had gutted the “Casino” pavilion, which had initially been built by the trolley company in Spiritualist camp days. A historic Denzel carousel in the amusement park was sold to Cedar Point. In 1986, Lake Lansing Park North was completed. The Lake Lansing parks are home to as many as 450,000 visits/year about half of whom come from Lansing and over 90% from the Lansing Metropolitan area.

*All information taken from Lake Lansing Property Owners Association's website:
http://www.lakelansing.org/History/History.php