When was Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation founded?

The Parks and Recreation Commission was founded in 1977.  Learn more about the parks history here.

How many parks are in the Grand Traverse County Park system?

There are ten park properties covering approximately 1,400 acres of land.

Which parks are included in the Grand Traverse County Parks system?

Your Grand Traverse County Parks include:

  • Beitner Park
  • Civic Center
  • Keystone Soccer Complex
  • Maple Bay Natural Area and Park
  • Meyer House (Great Lakes Incubator Farm)
  • Medalie Park
  • Natural Education Reserve
  • Power Island
  • Twin Lakes Park
  • VASA Trailhead

What is Basset Island?

Bassett Island is a small island connected to the North end of Power Island. Bassett houses five campsites.  Go here and select Power Island to make your reservation. 

Where can I find out about events happening in Grand Traverse County Parks?

Information about upcoming events held in your Grand Traverse County Parks can be found on our Facebook page or on one of our park partners websites.

How do I make a suggestion to Grand Traverse County Parks?

We love to hear from our guests. please contact us at gtparks@gtcountymi.gov.

Where can I learn about improvement projects taking in the Grand Traverse County Parks?

Visit our list of current, planned, and recently completed projects.


Do you have pickleball courts?

Grand Traverse County Parks does not currently have pickleball courts. You can find pickleball courts at the Traverse City Senior Center, the City of Traverse City's Slabtown Corner Park, or the GT Bay YMCA.  

When are the outdoor restroom buildings open?

Our outdoor restroom building at Medalie Park and near the ball fields at Civic Center are open from Mid-May through October. The restrooms are closed during the colder months to avoid freezing pipes.

Is there a concession stand available at the Civic Center?

Yes! Hangry's operates the concession stand inside the Civic Center. Hours of operation are posted outside the stand and align with busy times at the arena. Bayfront Scooters operates the concessions stand near the ball fields. They are open during most ball games throughout the Summer and Fall.

When does Parallel 45 theater run at Civic Center Park?

Parallel 45 theater runs performances during the month of July.  Visit their website to see their schedule of performances.


How do I reserve a pavilion?

You can reserve a pavilion online right here.

How do I reserve a sports field?

You can reserve a sports field online. Go here and select Civic Center to begin your reservation.

Where can I find the ice schedule for Howe Arena?

The ice arena is managed by Centre ICE. You can find the ice schedule right here.

How do I make a camping reservation for Power Island?

Go here and select Power Island to make your reservation.

How do I get to Power Island?

Power Island can be accessed by boat only. The trip is 3-1/2 miles from Bowers Harbor and 6 miles from Traverse City's Clinch Park

If traveling by kayak, the closest launch point to the island is Bowers Harbor boat launch.  Please watch the weather forecast and wave forecast, wear a personal flotation device, and make sure you are prepared for an open water journey. 

Where can I park for Power Island?

Grand Traverse County Parks does not maintain a parking lot for guests accessing Power Island.  The closest lot with a public boat launch is the Bowers Harbor boat ramp site. This is a state access point and will require a Michigan Recreation Passport for parking. Vehicles without a Recreation passport may be ticketed or towed.

Can I rent the amphitheater at Civic Center Park?

Yes! It's a great space for parties, concerts, and more.  You can rent the amphitheater by clicking Civic Center here.


How do I watch a park commission meeting?

Park commission agendas and live stream information as well as recording information is posted at Grand Traverse County’s iCompass website.

How do members get appointed to the park commission?

Applications for county commissions, including the parks commission, can be found here.

What are the subcommittees of the parks commission?

Our parks commission has several standing and ad hoc subcommittees to examine specific areas. You'll find those committees and their members here.

Who are the members of the parks commission?

Learn more about the commission and it's membership here.

Where can I find minutes of past park commission meetings?

Past meeting minutes and agendas are available here.

When and where are the park commission meetings?

You can find a schedule of upcoming meetings and locations here.


Does Grand Traverse County have a five-year recreation plan?

Absolutely, you can read our park improvement plans here.

What projects are currently in progress in Grand Traverse County Parks?

You can learn about projects affecting your Grand Traverse County Parks here.


Where can I find park rules and ordinances?

Park rules and ordinances can be found here.

Can I bring alcohol into Grand traverse County Parks?

You may bring alcoholic beverages into Grand Traverse County Parks.  If you wish to bring alcohol to Twin Lakes Park, there are additional requirements in place that you will be required to follow. Please note that glass containers are not permitted. 

If you are hosting an event where you are selling alcohol or money is changing hands for participation on the event in any way, you will be subject to additional State of Michigan regulations. 

Can I run my dog off-leash at Grand Traverse County Parks?

Sorry, we love dogs too, but even good dogs need to be on a leash at all times in Grand Traverse County Park properties.

Can I bring firewood to Power Island?

Sorry, outside firewood is not permitted on Power Island. Firewood is available for purchase during your site reservation or on the island for $8 per bundle.  Go here and select Power Island to make your reservation.

Can I have a bonfire at a park?

Sorry, fires are prohibited in all parks except by permit in the fire rings at Power Island and fire pit/fire place at Twin Lakes Park.

Are there restrooms at Maple Bay Park?

Yes, there is a porta-potty located at the trailhead.

When are the restrooms open at Medalie Park?

Restrooms at Medalie Park are open from mid-May to late October. The restroom building is closed in the other months to avoid freezing pipes.

Do you have a lost and found for the parks?

If you've participated in a program in the park through one of our Park Partners, we recommend contacting them directly to see if they have your items. We do not officially maintain a lost and found for our properties, but we do occasionally find items and we hold the items of value in our office.  If your Park Partner does not have the items, reach us at gtparks@gtcountymi.gov to see if we have your items. 

Can I smoke in Grand Traverse County Parks?

Sorry, tobacco and vape use is prohibited in Grand Traverse County Parks.

Is marijuana use allowed in Grand Traverse County Parks? 

Sorry, marijuana use in any form is not allowed in Grand Traverse County Parks.

Can I run a class or program in one of the Grand Traverse County Parks? 

We allow private individuals and groups to run classes in the parks by permit.  Visit here and select the Class option for your preferred park.

Can I camp in a Grand Traverse County Park?

Camping is allowed at Power Island.  We do occasionally host groups like the Michigander bike tour and these groups camp under a special permit at Civic Center.  Otherwise, individual camping is not allowed. If you are interested in hosting a large group event with camping, let's talk.

Can I leave a vehicle overnight in a Grand Traverse County Park?

Sorry, we do not permit overnight parking in the parks with exception of organized groups by permit.

When are the park hours?

The parks are open from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm. Guests can remain on Power Island or in the Twin Lakes Dormitory overnight with a valid overnight permit.

What types of beverage or food containers are allowed in the Grand Traverse County Parks? 

Metal or plastic containers are allowed. Glass containers are not allowed.

What are the field use polices?

You can find field use policies here.

What are the policies for Power Island?

You can find field use policies here.

Can I hunt in Grand Traverse County Parks?

Hunting may be permitted at the Maple Bay and Power Island properties, if approved by the Director of Parks and Recreation. If permitted, approval and requirements will be noted on the Maple Bay and Power Island web pages.


Can I advertise in Grand Traverse County Parks? 

We offer banner sales on the ball fields at Civic Center Park. Otherwise, you cannot post notices about items for sale, peddle, or systematically solicit business in a Grand Traverse County Park.

Can I purchase banner space on the outfield fences at Civic Center Park?

Yes! Go here to purchase your banner space.

Can I use the park as a place to operate my business?

We carefully select a selection of non-profit and for-profit park partners to support needs in some park properties. We also allow private entities to run classes or special events in a park property by permit.  Aside from these designated partners and permit holders, you cannot use the parks for commercial gain. If you have an idea that you feel would add value to park guests and would like to consider becoming a park partner, please contact us and let's talk.