Nestled in the heart of Michigan, Genesee County Parks is the largest county parks system in the state at over 11,000 acres. The presence of these high-quality parks, recreational facilities, and their diverse programs plays a significant role in creating a sense of place that is a key tool in attracting and retaining residents and businesses, and driving economic development.

Headshot of Patrick Linihan
Patrick Linihan is director of Genesee County Parks.

I have personally witnessed the positive impact of parks and recreation as a catalyst for social and economic development. It helps that we have such unique assets and attractions to offer.

For example, The Mounds ORV Park is a premier destination for thrill-seekers. This off-road vehicle park, located just outside Flint, features rugged terrain perfect for ATVs, dirt bikes, and four-wheel-drive vehicles.

The park’s challenging trails and muddy courses draw off-road enthusiasts year-round, with Thanksgiving Day being particularly popular. This event, known as “Moundsgiving,” sees a surge of visitors who come to test their skills and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow off-roaders. The influx of tourists during these times boosts local businesses, from hotels and restaurants to retail stores, contributing significantly to the local economy.

In Genesee Township, Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad is a living history museum that offers a glimpse into the 19th century. This charming village, with over 30 restored buildings, brings history to life with costumed interpreters, period artisan demonstrations, and seasonal events. The highlight is the Huckleberry Railroad, where a vintage steam locomotive takes passengers on a scenic journey along the shore of C.S. Mott Lake. Events like Thomas the Train weekends, Halloween Ghosts & Goodies, and Christmas at Crossroads draw families from near and far.

There’s also Wolverine Campground, located on the shores of the 1,975-acre Holloway Reservoir. This well-maintained campground features 250 sites with a variety of accommodations. Visitors can enjoy activities such as fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, and now kayak rentals. The campground’s amenities make it a perfect destination for families looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse themselves in nature’s tranquility.

And, for those seeking a deeper connection with nature, For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum is a hidden gem located in the middle of the City of Burton. This 383-acre preserve is home to diverse ecosystems, including woodlands, wetlands, and meadows. It features over seven miles of trails, offers educational programs and events, and is a haven for bird watchers, hikers, and anyone looking to experience the peace and beauty of the natural world.

Collectively, the parks play a vital role in supporting the local economy. By attracting tourists and providing recreational opportunities for residents, these parks generate significant return on investment for the community. They create jobs directly and indirectly, from park rangers and maintenance staff to seasonal workers and educators. Additionally, the parks serve as community hubs, fostering a sense of belonging and enhancing the quality of life.

Whether you’re a resident seeking relaxation or an adventure, or a visitor looking for a unique experience, Genesee County Parks has something special to offer everyone, making it the perfect place to “Get Away, Right Away!” Learn more at