- Associated Press - Thursday, October 27, 2016

MANCHESTER, Mich. (AP) - Watkins Lake State Park and County Preserve is now officially part of Michigan’s park system after a dedication ceremony this week.

It becomes the 103rd state park in Michigan - and the first to be managed jointly with a county recreation agency.

It was formed after the state Department of Natural Resources bought 717 acres of land this year in Jackson County’s Norvell Township for $2.9 million, which was combined with 405 contiguous acres owned by the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission in Manchester Township.

In addition to Watkins Lake itself, the park features scenic landscapes including open meadows, mixed hardwoods and low wetlands. Recreational opportunities include hiking, birdwatching, upland hunting and mountain biking.

Parking space is limited, but officials say a management plan will provide more access points.

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