Which Great Lakes communities have the best parks?

A cyclist enjoys the biking trail along Lake Michigan in Chicago's Burnham Park. Chicago received three and half park benches on Park Score. Photo: Steven Vance, Flickr

A cyclist enjoys the biking trail along Lake Michigan in Chicago’s Burnham Park. Chicago received three and half park benches on Park Score. Photo: Steven Vance, Flickr

ParkScore measures how well the 50 largest U.S. cities meet their residents’ need for parks.

The rating system evaluated the parks of several cities from Great Lakes states on size, ease of access and city investment.

The ratings are designed to help local communities identify where parks are needed and improve services for existing parks.

On the Parkscore website, cities are rated  on a scale of zero to five park benches. For example, one bench means the city’s park system needs major improvement, while five benches indicate an excellent park system.

Chicago and Milwaukee, cities along the shore of Lake Michigan, received three and half  and three park benches, respectively. Cleveland, with parks on Lake Erie, and Detroit, part of a major Great Lakes connecting channel, only received two and half park benches.

ParkScore features only the country’s most populous cities. But smaller communities certainly have great park systems. How about it, Echo readers?

Which Great Lakes cities or towns, regardless of size, deserve five park benches? Which don’t make the cut? Make your case in the comment section below.

5 thoughts on “Which Great Lakes communities have the best parks?

  1. You cant beat the Cleveland Metro area for the number of parks. Each county surrounding Cuyahoga county has their own park systems with each having numerous parks on the lake. A big thank you goes out to all the parks in N.E Ohio: the Cleveland Metro Parks, Lorain County Metro Parks, Lake County Metro Parks, and the Geauga and Summit County Metro Parks. No metro area around the Great lakes can touch the numbers of park systems/parks that North East Ohio has.

  2. Marquette has amazing trails and parks (Presque Ile) along Lake Superior. As I understand it, the city only allows development away from the shoreline, while reserving the area adjacent to the lake for public use and access. As a result the city has won numerous awards for being a great place to live.

  3. Michigan City and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Of course, I realize that the dunes are not a community park but a unit in the National Park Service. The municipal lakeshore beach is also easily accessed and still features WPA-era stonework throughout Washington Park.
    http://ww2.netnitco.net/~rbmc/MichiganCity/Beach.html

    MC has some other nice parks, too, but when I’m home visiting, I have eyes only for Lake Michigan. I’ll be watching my step on Mt. Baldy in the future, though!
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-08-21/news/chi-another-recovery-milestone-for-boy-buried-in-dune-starting-school-20130820_1_nathan-woessner-sand-dune-greg-woessner

  4. I know of no community in Michigan which would rate a “five”. Parks have always been an afterthought in the planning process…whereas ample parks and nature preserves are truly the cornerstones of a healthy and economically viable community.

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