Detroit Rocks: Search for engraved stones attracts recreation area visitors

February, 2017 Posted in Community, Nature

_DSC4503-minBy Mary Owen

Detroit rocks – literally! A promotion that started last fall has people scrambling to hiking trails, campgrounds, picnic areas and local businesses to find one of more than 300 specially engraved river rocks hidden throughout the year, Dean O’Donnell of the Detroit Lake Recreation Area Business Association said.
“The rock program is going fantastic,” O’Donnell said. “The talk in town has been very, very, very good. We get challenges with snow, but we’ve worked hard to find fun spots so snow wouldn’t cover them up. People are even finding them under the snow!” Twenty rocks were hidden to launch the program during the Cruise-In last September, and since then, five rocks are hidden each week, Jamie Dobrowolski, creative director at Project LTD, said. The company developed the concept and manages the promotion for Detroit.

“It’s a passion project for us as we cherish Detroit,” Dobrowolski said. “We want to help improve travel and tourism to the area year-round and to help local businesses grow.”

The promotion has been “extremely successful” to date, she said.

“Local businesses have reported increased traffic coming in and inquiring about the rocks hidden around town,” she said. “On any given day, it is not uncommon to see someone walking around downtown or on the lakebed with their eyes downward as they search for a coveted rock.”

Website traffic and social media sites for Detroit have seen a tremendous increase in traffic as well, she added.

The promotion was introduced to encourage visitors to visit Detroit, which has been hard-hit by recent low lake levels.

“As Detroit Lake lovers and business owners, we have seen the impact of unreliable water levels and weather patterns on local businesses and vacationers,” O’Donnell said. “Detroit needed a solution to draw new interest to the area, and we believe Detroit Rocks are doing just that.”

The objective is to “go to Detroit, seek your treasure, and if you find one, you keep it,” Dobrowolski said.

“If you are one of the lucky ones to find a rock, please leave the others behind so that more people can join in the fun,” she said.

Finders are asked to register their rock at to be entered to win the monthly prize package. Details of the prize package and hints to where rocks can be found are listed on this page.

“Finders are encouraged to post their find on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #detroitORrocks,” Dobrowolski said. “If you share your pictures, you will be entered an additional time into the monthly drawing. Examples of prizes have been a weekend getaway at Breitenbush Resort and gift baskets from local businesses.”

Currently funded by the city of Detroit and DLRABA, sponsors are needed to keep the rock promotion rolling, Dobrowolski said.

“Sponsorship packages are available and will help with the longevity and strength of the promotion long into the future,” Dobrowolski said. “With the program’s momentum and reach, there are some great opportunities for partnership and co-branding. We are currently seeking interested businesses. If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please contact us at”

Dobrowolski encourages rock hunters to discover Detroit beyond the lake itself. Even if they don’t win the monthly giveaway, the rocks are a prize unto themselves, she said.

“During the Great American Eclipse in August, we will be developing a rock with a one of a kind logo to commemorate the event,” she said.

For information, visit

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.