Dicken Woods Nature Area is located in west central Ann Arbor at the headwaters of the Allen Creek and Mallets Creek watersheds. It is bounded by Pauline Boulevard and a wooded portion of the Walden Village Condominium property to the north, South Maple Road to the west, residential homes on Stephen Terrace and Carol Drive to the east, and Dicken Elementary School and several residential homes to the south. It is a 10.14-acre park with a loop trail accessed from the end of Dicken Drive, and serves as a valuable recreational area and outdoor classroom for children and people of all ages. A chipped footpath with a boardwalk over a seasonal wetland connects the ends of Dicken and Carol Drives, and a branch of this trail extends into the Dicken schoolyard using a network of smaller boardwalks on the school property.
History and Origins
Dicken Woods nature area was born out of a proposal in early 2002 by developer Crosswinds Communities to develop townhouses on the site. Dicken Woods at that time was privately owned, by the Catholic Diocese of Lansing, but neighbors frequently used the site as a park, and were opposed to development of the site. Neighborhood residents, organizing as "Friends of Dicken Woods" attending Planning Commission meetings to oppose the rezoning needed by the developer, as well as lobbying the City's Parks Advisory Committee and City Council to formally purchase the land as a park. After three submittals of plans by Crosswinds - and an attempt by the Ann Arbor District Library to buy the land - the City eventually purchased the property in October 2003 for $550,000, including $50,000 in donations raised by the Friends.