This ancient Indian mound was carefully stabilized to its original condition.

This ancient Indian mound was carefully stabilized to its original condition.

Indian Rocks Park is one of the oldest parks in Big Canoe. It was built to showcase the mysterious Indian Mounds found in this park and protect their archaeological value. The park is not big, but it’s beautiful, in a rugged kind of way.

The rock mounds were built over 500 years ago by the people who lived in this territory. Please do not touch the mounds! Do not add stones or remove stones. The archaeological heritage must be preserved. 

Some of the mounds were destroyed over the years by falling trees, and it’s remarkable there are still so many mounds standing after all this time. 

Informative signs were cleaned and restored by the Trails Committee.

Informative signs were cleaned and restored by the Trails Committee.

The trails in this park were built decades ago and are classified as an easy hike. But you still need to pay attention when walking these trails; the ground has settled and tree roots have been exposed, creating tripping hazards for the unwary.

In 1999 or 2000, the newly formed Trails Committee took over the maintenance of the original two trails, the Indian Mounds Trail and the Indian Mounds Loop. A few years later, the Lake Petit Trail was added to extend the hiking experience to the lake. 

Like any trail, things show wear over time. The multiple educational signs along the trails became covered in algae, the posts and wooden backings on signs started to rot, staircase steps would break, trees would fall (and yes, they seem to fall a lot) and painted surfaces got discolored, etc.

Recently, Trails Committee members have been diligently working to address the maintenance issues on these trails, such as clearing trees and repairing stairs and trail pathways, but they’ve also been hard at work sprucing things up and adding trail structures.

Details were added to the hand-carved benches created by Vic Shannon.

Details were added to the hand-carved benches created by Vic Shannon.

Vic Shannon and Lin Crouse have replaced all the worn and rotted wooden components and repainted them. In addition, Vic used his superior woodworking skills to create lovely new benches and stools. Vic also rebuilt a portion of the trail that got ripped up by the root ball of a falling tree. 

After noticing erosion undercutting one of the largest rock mounds, Vic built up a foundation of stones to keep the mound stable.

It took some effort to stabilize this bench in a muddy area.

It took some effort to stabilize this bench in a muddy area.

Meanwhile, Joe Tipton upgraded the trail signage to be consistent with the new style used in High Gap Park and Nature Valley, and Phil Waldrop stabilized and repaired the bench at Lake Petit and rerouted the Lake Petit Trail away from a boggy area.

After a large tree fell, bringing down several other trees, Clardy Schwarz’ excellent sawyer skills and direction enabled the reopening of the trail that would otherwise have been closed.

Liz Scherer repainted the welcoming park sign.

Liz Scherer repainted the welcoming park sign.

Finally, Liz Scherer repainted the Indian Rocks Park sign by the road. She also created the poster at the kiosk and the related brochures.

It takes a team of very diverse talents to maintain and improve Big Canoe’s lovely trails. Most of the volunteers work quietly behind the scenes. Whatever you see when hiking in Big Canoe, there is volunteer time behind it that made it happen.