Department of Natural Resources
Sept. 21, 2020
The highly anticipated Holly Oaks ORV Park has officially opened its gates to an exciting, new level of off-roading fun.
After years of planning and collaboration, it’s the second state park area in Michigan to be jointly managed by state and county recreation agencies. Holly Oaks will be operated by Oakland County Parks and Recreation in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The ORV park, situated in Groveland and Holly townships near Groveland Oaks County Park and Campground on Dixie Highway, is considered part of Holly Recreation Area, one of Michigan's 100-plus state parks.
The park’s first 113 acres officially opened to the public Sept. 17. Holly Oaks is the first off-road vehicle park in southeast Michigan, ready to serve an active riding community. The site utilizes former and active sand and gravel mines, making it a unique destination for all types of ORVs, including full-size vehicles, side-by-sides, all-terrain vehicles and ATVs, as well as motorcycles.
Riders will be challenged by features like 4x4 trails, single-track trails for motorcycles, steep hills, water crossings, rock crawls and other challenge elements.
Fees and hours
A $15/vehicle daily entry fee and an annual DNR ORV license ($26.25) and trail permit ($10) are needed to enter the park. A DNR Recreation Passport or Oakland County Parks and Recreation Annual Vehicle Permit will not be required.
Daily entry can be purchased online or in person at the park’s contact station. The park will begin selling ORV licenses and trail permits in mid-October. Until then, visitors can purchase their ORV license and trail permit online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses or at participating DNR license agents, including dozens within and around Oakland County.
Visit OaklandCountyParks.com to view operating hours and other park updates.
In 2017, the DNR, supported by a $2.9 million Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant, purchased 235 acres on the former mining and gravel site in southeast Michigan. In 2019, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners approved a 20-year operating agreement (with an additional 10-year option) with the DNR. That same year, the DNR ORV Trail Improvement Fund allocated $160,000 for park design and development. Another $262,000 grant from that fund has helped with park development.
“We’ve been working on this project with the DNR for the better part of the last 10 years, trying to find a location in southeast Michigan that could offer the types of experiences available at Holly Oaks,” Oakland County Parks and Recreation Executive Officer Dan Stencil said. “We’re excited to see it finally come to fruition, and it will keep growing and changing in the years to come, providing new experiences with each visit.”
Under the agreement, OCPR will operate, maintain and staff the park with part-time, full-time and seasonal county employees.
“The idea for Holly Oaks was set in motion years ago while working on the statewide trails plan, starting with the long-term goal of establishing an ORV trail in southeast Michigan to bring off-roading opportunities to this population center,” Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, said. “We realized that Oakland County had a large number of licensed ORVs, but no nearby places to ride. This was the perfect opportunity to bring outdoor recreation to a different part of the state.”
Holly Oaks ORV Park is designed to be “self-sustaining,” meaning revenue over expense will be held in a restricted account and reinvested back into the park for maintenance and improvements. Revenue will be generated through daily entry fees, sponsorships, public and private events and corporate use for filming and testing.
Appeal and access
The park’s remaining 122 acres of ORV trails and terrain is expected to be ready for riders by 2023 as mining operations wrap up. Located off I-75 in an area that minimizes potential impact on local residents, the site is ideal for ORV use. The park is also an easy day trip for many, as it’s less than a 40-minute drive for the majority of Oakland County residents and no more than 90 minutes from most large urban centers in southeast Michigan.
Holly Oaks ORV Park is located off I-75 at the Grange Hall Road exit. Take Grange Hall Road east to Dixie Highway and go north approximately half a mile. From mid-April through mid-October, visitors will access the park from the Mt. Holly Ski and Snowboard Resort parking lot. During the off-season from mid-October through mid-April, parking will be located at 14551 Shields Road.
To help slow the spread of the coronavirus, please follow public health and safety guidelines. Go out only if you’re feeling healthy and practice proper social distancing. Face coverings are required in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor spaces when proper social distancing – at least 6 feet when around people who are not part of your household – cannot be maintained.
For more information about the Holly Oaks ORV Park, call 248-653-0710, visit OaklandCountyParks.com and/or follow Holly Oaks ORV Park on Facebook. For more information about ORV riding in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/ORVInfo.
/Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download.
The new Holly Oaks ORV Park is open to full-size vehicles, side-by-sides, all-terrain vehicles ATVs and motorcycles. It’s the second state park area in Michigan to be jointly managed by a state and county recreation agency