DNR to host Shoe Year’s Day events

The Department of Natural Resources will hold Shoe Year’s Day events in three Northeast Michigan locations.

Shoe Year’s Day is a chance for Michiganders to get a jump on their fitness goals for 2014, according to a release from the department. Local health experts will be on hand at the snowshoeing, cross country sking and hiking trips to give free advice. They’ll also invite participants to make a pledge to get fit in the great outdoors, including through the DNR’s Fresh Air Fit programs held throughout the year.

State parks and recreation areas across the state will host the events, according to the DNR. This includes Clear Lake and Thompson’s Harbor state parks, as well as Rockport State Recreation Area’s Besser Natural Area.

Shoe Year’s Day at Thompson’s Harbor State Park is Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Stone Path Cabin, 15 miles east of Rogers City on US-23. At Besser Natural Area and Clear Lake State Park, it’s on Jan. 4. Besser Natural Area’s is from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., off E. Grand Lake Road, and Clear Lake State Park’s starts at 2 p.m. at the day use area off County Road 622, according to the DNR.

The DNR is teaming up with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Michigan Recreation and Park Association for the events, according to the department. It’s also working with local partners. Refreshments at Thompson’s Harbor State Park are being provided by The Painted Lady in Rogers City, and Friends of Rockport/Besser Natural Area worked to ready trails for trekkers, including one going south from the natural area parking lot.

“It’s a pretty little trail,” friends group President Carol Dodge Grochowski said. “We eventually hope to get it down to Fisher’s Field, and hook it to another trail we brushed out” earlier.

While many events at Rockport State Recreation Area stage at the state boat launch or park maintained by Alpena Township, Besser Natural Area provides easier access to trails, Grochowski said. Snowshoers, skiers and hikers can travel a loop going through the ghost town of Bell, and a trail to the nearby settler’s cemetery could be open as well.

“Since we do everything at Rockport usually, this was going to be an opportunity to show off Besser Natural Area a little bit more,” she said.

Snowshoes in different sizes will be available to borrow at Besser Natural Area, courtesy of Alpena Public Schools, Grochowski said. The DNR also will build a bonfire and provide hot drinks.

There will be a bonfire at Thompson’s Harbor, and an open house for Stone Path Cabin, according to the DNR.

The events are free, although Recreation Passports are required for all vehicles entering state parks and recreation areas.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.