The mission of the Wayne County Park District is to protect, establish and conservatively maintain natural areas including wetlands, woodlands, stream channels, lakes, prairie fields, and hillsides throughout Wayne County. These natural areas will be maintained for public use by providing natural areas of beauty for spiritual and mental rejuvenation, leisure activities, and the promotion of educational opportunities to study nature.

Park District

The Wayne County Park District reorganized in 2011. Currently the Park District has five park commissioners that serve 3 year terms as appointed by the Probate Judge. The Board is committed to the Mission Statement of securing and preserving natural habitats for recreational and educational purposes.  

The Park Board is responsible for applying for state, federal, or local grants and seek avenues of additional funding to maintain parks under their ownership. The Park District does not receive any operating monies from the county and solely depends on grants and donations along with any fundraising done by the Friends of the Park District.

Friends of the Park

The Friends of the Wayne County Park District also reorganized in 2011. These volunteers provide the majority of the labor for maintaining the parks and responsible for fundraising for approved projects. The organization welcomes all age groups and families. 

Friends Spotlight

Darrel Barnes

Our Friends Spotlight for March/April 2020 is Darrel Barnes!

Having lived at the County Home most of my school years, I have lots of memories of helping my father out on the county farm. I can remember him sending me out to, what is now the Barnes Preserve, to herd the cattle out of the Meadow and shade where the Romich Pavilion stands.  How unique that I spent my youth walking around the area and then years later being a part of the developments that created a field and woods into a beautiful nature park for everyone to enjoy!

I have spent about 10 years as the President of the Friends of the Park and enjoy watching the park evolve.  We have such a good group of volunteers that make my job easy. I am particularly proud to see the continued efforts of the Park Commissioners in making the entire Barnes Preserve fully accessible to people of all abilities. We were the first in the county!   

It has been an honor to be involved and serve the Friends group and the Community.  I am sure my parents would be proud of our accomplishments and I am grateful to be a part of it as well.   

I look forward to the upcoming growth of the park in the years to come.  Consider joining us. We welcome everyone; all ages and interests!     



The Park Board and Friends group meet back-to-back at least one time per month, normally the second Tuesday of the month at 6 PM either at the Wayne County Library or Romich Pavilion at Barnes Preserve (weather permitting). All meetings are open to the public.

Looking Ahead

What is the future of Wayne County Park District? During the year 2019 we will be participating in Strategic Planning sessions with Trevor Dunlap, an experienced facilitator in assisting organizations in developing short and long term goals. Through a series of assessments, public surveys, participation, and input from any interested people, the Board hopes to determine the most appropriate and effective direction to take the Park District over the next 10 years. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend any of the sessions. Each meeting will be posted on the Events page.