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Bandemer Park

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Park Address: 2001 Whitmore Lake Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105 (North entrance: disc golf; shelter; trails)

                      1300 Lake Shore Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 (South entrance: boat/rowing club; trails)

Hou​rs​ and Rules 

​Open 6 a.m.- 10 p.m.  Refer to Chap​ter 39 of the City of Ann Arbor Code of Ordinances for park regulations and rules. Contact park rentals for policies and rules related to rentals and special uses and always refer to posted park signage in the park. Smoking is prohibited and dogs must be on leash.  ​

Overview

Bandemer Park is a 38 acre natural area and park along the Huron River, west of the Argo Pond. View the Ann Arbor Parks and Natural Areas map for location context. The park has two main entrances with parking available at each.  Bandemer Park features paved and unpaved trails through the main body of the park, restrooms, benches, accessible canoe dock, fishing dock, disc golf course, shelter, picnic areas, and grills.  The Argo Pond walking loop highlighted here features the central attraction at Argo Nature Area​ and Bandemer-the Huron River. B​​andemer is also where you will find Ann Arbor's only dirt bike jump course​.  Bandemer Park is on Washtenaw County's Border-to-Border (B2B) trail and is itself a B2B trailhead.  Dirt foot paths wander throughout the disc​ golf c​​ourse, with views of the river and other unique habitat prevalent. The south side of the park is home of the Ann Arbor Rowing Club (AARC).  The AARC offers learn to row programs for the general public and holds an annual regatta.  Canoe, kayak, and tube rentals are available at the Argo livery, just half a mile away.  

Bandemer Park is also a good place to be still and observe nature. To read about what flora and fauna you might experience, read Natural Area Preservation newsletter:  2002 Park Focus: Bandemer by Beth Campbell.  Or check out this brochure​ to learn more about the wildlife, preservation and eco systems around the Argo Pond. 

​The park also features one of the four Canoe Imagine Art installations in Ann Arbor Parks.  The tulip installation​ by Ray Katz is located at the north end of the park off of Whitmore Lake Road. 


 

B​oat Locker Rentals

Bandemer Boat Lockers have been assigned for the 2021 season.  Please check this website around late January or early February 2022 for an application.  Questions should be sent by email to [email protected]

Access and Parking

There are parking lots at the north off Barton Drive where it meets Whitmore Lake Road and at the south entrance of the park off North Main Street at Lake Shore Drive.   ​​​​The park is also accessible by foot from nearby parks and nature areas.  Bandemer is directly west across the river from A​rgo Park & Nature Area​.  Use the paved trail to cross the Argo Dam to reach the Argo livery and Argo Nature Area.  The Border-t​o-Border Trail (B2B) travels through the center of this park. To the south, the B2B crosses Argo Dam, passes by Argo Canoe LiveryFuller Park; University of Michigan Hospital; and Mitchell Field; where it joins with Gallup Park - another B2B Trailhead. The Border-to-Border Trail (B2B) is a non-motorized pathway that connects cities, parks, and many destinations throughout Washtenaw County.​​​​

Bandemer Park/Barton Nature Area Pedestrian Connection Update

In December 2020, the City of Ann Arbor and the Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission held a public meeting regarding a proposed pedestrian tunnel beneath the railroad that would connect Bandemer Park and Barton Nature Area. You can view the presentation​, watch the public meeting, review the meeting summary or visit Park Planning for updates. ​

​Public Transportation:   Unfortunately, there are no bus stops that are a 10-minute walk to Bandemer park. 


 Bandemer Aerial.PNG
Amenities List​

Facilities

  • ​Picnic tables and grills near each parking lot. View the asset map for specific amenity locations.
  • Year round vault restrooms at each parking lot.
  • Rentable shelter and fire circle located near the north side parking lot. Visit park rentals for information on hosting an event or renting at Bandemer Park. 
  • Boat dock access near each parking lot.
  • Landfill and recycling receptacles available in parking lots.​
Activities

Park Dock.jpg


dirt bike (2).JPG Volunteer

There are ongoing and limitless opportunities for volunteering and getting engaged with the Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Services Unit. GIVE 365 and the seasonal Adopt-a-Park Program offer volunteer opportunities ranging from a 90 minute commitment, to a more long term, ongoing role. Natural Area Preservation also has volunteer opportunities that support their mission to protect and restore Ann Arbor's natural areas and to foster an environmental ethic among its citizens. If you are feeling the tug to volunteer or give some time, reach out or explore the websites above to see what’s upcoming or how to get involved.​

Report a Problem - A2 Fix It

To report any maintenance issues or other problem during your park visit, please report through A2Fix It.  When reporting an issue in a park please include location details. There is a details and description section near the end of the request process to help you provide this. In addition, users can utilize the pin (website) or X (mobile app) feature to provide specific location information inside the park. Finally, please consider including a wide angle photo or include background landmarks, which helps staff find and fix the problem.

Gifts and Donations 

Information on donating to the parks and the Guide to Giving can be found here. Alternatively if you have a special project or park improvement idea that you want to donate your time and energy toward, a great place to start is through Adopt-a-Park and the proposing a special park project guide. For information on donating a tree through Adopt-a-Park, the  tree donation guide can help you get started. ​


History

In early Ann Arbor, the land was used as a stockyard for the railroad and had open pastures. The Huron River eroded little bays along the shoreline, limiting access to the property and narrowing the land. The original Main Street bridge crossed the Huron River, where the pedestrian and vehicular bridge are currently located, spanning the full distance across the railroad tracks.  This bridge was replaced with the current M-14 bridge in the 1950's.  During this period the land had been used for construction and as staging grounds for M-14. Much of the interior of the park was used as a dumping ground. Evidence of construction debris and dumping is evident as small hills throughout the woods, in areas where nature has reclaimed the land. As a result of these disturbances, many of the plants are exotic invasives. Several areas of the river's edge were filled to provide a larger land surface sometime during the 1950's. A simple box concrete bridge crossed the river on the old bridge abutments, providing access for construction vehicles. Images of land before park was developed.   

Despite the harsh history of the land at Bandemer, several natural communities still exist, most likely due to the river frontage.  Several areas have been tenderly restored and reclaimed, with a section of native prairie, restored prairie, wooded wetland, restored wetland, mesic forest, wetland detention, stream bed and open field.  The 1994-1996 plant inventory indicated that 234 species of plants find home at Bandemer with 157 of them being native species.  Another feature along the river is an artesian well located north of the rowing dock on South Bandemer, just west of the river's edge.  The wooded wetland was established on piles of construction debris which created pockets of clay trapping standing water throughout the forest.  in the center of the woods you will see a large American Elm indicating the open pasture that once existed here. Bandemer is home to a diverse wildlife common to this area, with red fox, deer, squirrel, chipmunk, water fowl, toads, frogs, snakes, and many varieties of birds. Unique to this area, you will also find the Harvester butterfly among the Alder trees and Cliff Swallows underneath​ the M-14 bridge.  

In November 1974, The Lansky's Salvage Yard was purchased with 13.2 acres of land.

In 1982, The Washtenaw Land Conservancy (WLC) enabled the City of Ann Arbor to apply for grant funding from the State of Michigan.  The WLC began its involvement by acquiring control of the frontage on the Huron River of the 25.5-acre Johnson-Greene property on North Main Street in Ann Arbor.  This acquisition was made possible through a combination of WLC funds, City park bond funds and Michigan Land trust grants.  The parcel was transferred to the City of Ann Arbor in 1984.  

The "Bandemer Trust Fund", set up from the estate of Mary Couper Bandemer, was used to purchase the Johnson-Greene parcel along the Huron River in 1985. The gift to the city specified that the bequest was to be used "for acquisition and development, but not maintenance, of open spaces and parks, with a preference towards Huron River property."

In the early 90's a land use consultant was used to study Ann Arbor's North M​ain Street corridor​ main developments and develop three approaches to improve the area.  Howard Deardorff, president of Deardorff Design Resources Inc., developed and presented his development alternatives to the North Main Task Force after a two-month information gathering process.  The "consensus plan" selected reflected a blend of the most popular elements of the three alternatives.  

As part of the consensus plan, ​Mayor Jerry Jernigan cosponsored a resolution​ to approve the application for funds under the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund program to acquire the 8-acre riverfront parcel (Harry Hawkins parcel) directly south of Bandemer​ Park. The city's Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan listed the property as a priority for public acquisition. Both the park plan and Deardorff proposals for North Main Street called for uninterrupted bike paths and walkways along the river.  In May 1990, the land was purchased.

Images from opening day.

Recent Developments

1993: Construction of non-motorized path through the park.

1996: Water quality improvements​ under M-14 bridge.

2007:​ Nine-hole disc golf course constructed.

2008: Vault bathrooms constructed.

2009Dirt bike course constructed.  

2017: Constructed barrier free pathway to rowing docks.​


 

Updated April 2021. Email [email protected] for incorrect/outdated information.