A former railroad corridor, the West Bloomfield Trail Network stretches 4.25 miles through West Bloomfield, Orchard Lake, Keego Harbor and Sylvan Lake.
The West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission bought it from the Grand Trunk Western Railroad in 1988 and 1989. Those who walk, jog or bike this crushed limestone path can find a peaceful refuge from the rigors and stress of their daily lives. Nature's creatures also use it as an avenue through suburbia.
Wildlife thrives along the linear edge zone—an area where the trail buffers fields and woods. Garter snakes and northern water snakes sun themselves just off the path. Brilliant blue indigo buntings and American goldfinch add splashes of color and song to Trail Network shrubs.
An observant walker might even spot a leopard frog in a field of daisies. Red-tailed hawks perch on snags, ever watchful for rabbits and mice. On hot summer afternoons, turkey vultures, magnificent eagle-sized scavengers with six-foot wing spans, circle lazily especially above road crossings.
On a rare day, an eastern coyote might use this trail. Eastern coyotes, shy but resourceful predators, search brush and ravines for rodents and other small prey. But they pose no threat to you.
Let them go in peace.
frogs, a threatened species, live in meadows and marshes. Environmental pollutants, development, lawn mowers and other forms of habitat destruction deplete their numbers. Natural predators such as raccoons and snakes feed on this vulnerable amphibian. Identified by round dark spots on the body and a white stripe on its lip, they're most often found in wet grasses during summer.
Eastern coyotes stand eighteen inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 25 to 40 pounds. They have yellow eyes, large pointed ears and a tail that hangs down, contrasting with the wolves which have tails that go straight back. They hunt small prey and pose no threat to humans. They fear you more than you fear them and will run away at the snap of a branch. Recent sightings of this coyote have been reported in western Oakland County and the Bald Mountain Recreation Area, but they most likely have used the Trail Network at one time or another.
Indigo bunting males may appear greenish black or tropical blue depending on the light. On hot summer days, they sing persistently from old fence wire and the tops of trees. Buntings thrive in edge habitat.
This sign has been donated by Sarah Natalie Blume and Hannah Julia Blume to honor their Bubbie, Marcia Amhowitz.
Acquisition of the West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve and the West Bloomfield Trail Network were funded in part by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.