Our third park of the day on March 11th was Samuel Myers Park in Racine. Also known as Sam Myers Park or just Myers Park (or the super formal Samuel P Myers Park), this spot along Lake Michigan was an unexpected stop for us. We had just been driving around, heading lazily toward home from Kenosha and kind of decided we wanted to check out another view of the lake (as lovely a view as it was, we’d seen all that 7th Pl Overlook had to offer within about 5 minutes of parking). Thankfully, we found Myers.
Originally dedicated May 19, 1984, Samuel Myers Park (named for a local attorney who died in 1973) is a 7-acre work in progress managed by the city of Racine (specifically the Health Department, along with Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services and the Department of Public Works). According to a rather large sign, the park is in the midst of an eleven-part project to address ecological concerns in the area like pollution and management of invasive species, as well as improving things like aesthetics (making it pretty) and recreational value (making it usable). The project is being funded by a number of grants and initiatives, but the park owes a lot of its progress to local volunteers.
I can’t say for certain what phase the park is in right now (my guess would be somewhere around Phase 8 or 9 since the gazebo was just dedicated last August), but the ball has been rolling since early 2013 and the park was re-dedicated on its thirtieth anniversary almost four years ago. Prior to that, the park had its ups and downs. Though it’s along the lake, swimming was officially banned at the park in the 1990s because of high bacteria count in the water (an issue Milwaukeeans are all too familiar with). Water quality continues to be a focus of the restoration project for Myers Park, and a briefing from 2016 notes an off-shore swimming area is one of the project’s goals, as bacteria levels have significantly declined. As of our visit, there was no water quality advisory.
This lakeside park exceeded our expectations. We thought we were just getting a nice view of the lake (which we did), but it ended up being so much more. It was a great place for birdwatching, with all kinds of ducks, geese, and gulls during our March visit. It was also a fantastic place to look for rocks and shells; having been fascinated with rocks since I was a kid, this was especially exciting for me. And if you want to take a nice, casual stroll, the West Wetland loop of the Oakes Trail Walking Path is 1/4 mile long, complete with educational signage so you can learn all about the land you’re walking through.
We will definitely be back, probably this summer (though I can’t promise we’ll go swimming); I can’t wait to see how it looks full of green grass and prairie plants! And I would love to see if we can spot a few more birds (there’s one called a Bufflehead!).
Heading to Samuel Myers Park? Read up, my friend!
- Bring along your furry friends! Sam Myers Park allows dogs, as long as they’re on-leash. As always, please remember to clean up after your pooch. Not everyone loves dogs at the park; even fewer like dog poop.
- The park doesn’t have much in the way of amenities. If you need to use the restroom or are hoping to grab a snack, look elsewhere.
- I could not for the life of me find the park hours online (or on any of the signs I have pictures of), so make sure to look for this information when you arrive. If not posted, I tend to go with the dusk-to-dawn default.
- Probably goes without saying, but please be careful around the wildlife. Animals here may be nesting, hunting for food, or just trying to grab a nap. Best to leave them to it and admire from a safe distance. And for crying out loud, don’t let your kids chase the geese and ducks around because you think it’s funny or cute. First, this is their home, so we should respect their boundaries. Second, birds (geese in particular) can be downright hostile and may just decide to chase (or bite) back.
Time for some educational linkage.
Samuel Myers Park Restoration Project (City of Racine)
Friends of Myers Park (Facebook)
Samuel Myers Park renovation creating new lakefront attraction (Belle City)
City gets dollars to rehab beach at Samuel Myers Park (The Journal Times)
Racine earns international recognition for Myers Park Project (The Journal Times)