Sterling State Park

Sterling State Park

Infobox_protected_area | name = Sterling State Park
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location = Michigan, USA
nearest_city = Monroe, Michigan
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lat_direction = N
long_degrees =
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long_direction = W
area = convert|1300|acre|km2|0
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governing_body = Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Wm. C. Sterling State Park in the U.S. state of Michigan is the only Michigan state park located on the shores of Lake Erie. The park encompasses convert|1300|acre|km2|0. The park sits just north of where the River Raisin empties into the lake. The park boasts many lagoons and marshes, providing good habitat for a variety of wildlife and bird life. The park is situated in Monroe County just south of Detroit Beach/ Sandy Creek and north of the city of Monroe. It is the fourth busiest state park in the state. The park is located less than a mile from Interstate 75, which provides easy access from the neighboring areas of Detroit, Toledo, Ohio, and Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The main attractions at the park include the beach, a boat launch, and shore fishing. Over two miles (3 km) of asphalt surface are available for bike riding. Hiking trails are also available.

Sterling State Park was recently renovated at a cost of $12 million. It was closed during the 2003 season while the renovation was carried out to the park, which was remodeled to include three miles (5 km) of wetland walking paths open to the public in an area that had been closed to the public since the early 1900s.

In the late 1990s, the Environmental Protection Agency declared the area to be environmental concern due to the level of pollutants in Lake Erie and the River Raisin. When studying fish in the area, PCB levels increased 87% from the 1988 to 1998. The result of the overpollution came from the sudden industrial growth surrounding the River Raisin delta and Lake Erie. The largest of these industries include a Ford plant and the Detroit Edison coal plant, both of which cause severe impacts on the ecosystem of the area. In September 1997, the Ford Motor Company completed an environmental dredging project in the River Raisin. Ford removed approximately convert|25000|cuyd|m3 of PCB-contaminated sediment from the River Raisin, where PCB concentrations were as high as 40,000 parts per million.

Both fishing and swimming in the area around the park were prohibited until the level of pollutants in the lake were reduced to safe levels. During the time of renovation, there was a threat of "E. coli" bacteria in the lake waters, which resulted in several deaths in neighboring Ontario. Sterling State Park was not tested since the park was closed at the time. Swimming in Lake Erie is constantly monitored to make sure that the level of toxins are low enough not to pose a threat to human safety. The once severely polluted lake has undergone much restoration in the past decade, which has greatly benefited Sterling State Park.

Sterling State Park includes 288 modernized camp sites (open only from April 15 – November 1), picnic areas and shelters, biking and hiking trails, a recreational metal detecting area, beach access, and playgrounds. Snowmobiling is permitted in the park only when there is an excess of 4" of snow. Every year for Independence Day, Monroe holds a fireworks show on Lake Erie, within clear view of the park, wherein thousands of people drive to view the show and cause severe traffic congestion. Many boats also moor on the lake, where the fireworks are best seen.

External links

* [ Department of Natural Resources]
* [ Interactive Outdoors Michigan Information]
* [ EPA: Area of Concern]

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