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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 lots 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 one of Ann Arbor's dirt bik​e jump courses​ located here​. 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. ​


Bandemer Boat Lockers

Bandemer Park offers six (6) boat lockers for seasonal canoe and kayak storage. These lockers are allocated on a lottery basis each year. 
Applications for the 2024 Bandemer Boat Lockers are now available.  All applications must be returned on or before March 15, 2024.  A lottery drawing will take place on March 18, 2024 and applicants will be notified that week of the results.  ​​Complete and return the application via email to [email protected]  Questions should be sent by email or by calling 734.794.6230 x 0.  ​2024 Bandemer Boat Locker app_fillable.pdf ​

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Park Notices

Unless otherwise posted per City Council resolution, when a park is closed, no person shall remain in or enter it other than to quietly sit or walk.​

Refer to Chapter 39 of the City of Ann Arbor Code of Ordinances for park regulations and rules.

Park Hours

6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Amenities

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Rowing​

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Disc Golf Course

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Restrooms

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Bike Park (Dirt)​

 

Grills

Picnic Tables​​

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Rentable Shelter and Fire Circle​

 

Boat Dock Access

 

Trash & Recycling​

 

Trailhead​


 
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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.​

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Public Transportation

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

History​​​

Ann Arbor's city parks sit on the ancestral and traditional homelands​ of several indigenous Native peoples. Read a land acknow​ledgement from the city and learn more a​bout the early history of the land here.​​

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 w​as 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.​ ​​​Visit this link​ to view images of the land from before the 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.

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