Work continues on plans to develop nature trails on city owned property that is believed to feature salt spring.
In November, Saline City Councilor James Peters presented his plans to create trails on a city-owned, 15-acre piece of property near the DNR fish bonds on Saline-Milan Road. Earlier in the year, Peters discovered evidence of a salt flat or salt trail on the property. Testing of water samples indicated the likelihood of a functioning salt spring on the property, Peters said.
Saline’s salt springs attracted Pottawatomie natives to the areas more than 500 years ago and later attracted the French fur traders, who canoed here on what they called the Saline River.
The Salt Springs History Trail project has attracted the attention the Huron Valley Chapter of the Michigan Archaeological Society, Peters said.
“They have offered to do a site survey for us. They’d like to take a look at the site to look for archaeological features before we develop trails,” Peters said. “What appears to be a pile of rocks to me might look like an ancient fire pit to someone with an archaeological background.”
Any archaeological finds would only enhance the project, Peters said. The plan for a natural trail would highlight the early and pre-historic history of Saline. Peters said the natural salt springs attracted animals like mastodons and bison, and Paleo-Indian hunters. The Pottawatomie visited the springs and traded salt with neighboring tribes, Peters said.
The site is also believed to have been an encampment site for soldiers during the War of 1812.
So far, the Salt Springs History Trail has been endorsed by Saline City Council, the Saline Parks Commission, the Saline Area Historical Society, the Saline Historic District and the Saline River Greenway Alliance.
The project is proceeding at no cost to the city.
Anyone wishing to support the project can call Saline City Hall at 429-4907.
Peters said he’s currently looking for fencing to help build an entrance to the property.
“Once I get an entrance into the park then we can get volunteers down there with tools and begin to establish some trails,” Peters said.
Anyone willing to donate chain link fence is asked to contact Peters through city hall.