Inside Michigan's Great Outdoors: December 2014

Find out what's going on at Michigan state parks and recreation areas in the upcoming month
Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page. Bookmark and Share

Lantern-lit trail

  Inside Michigan's Great Outdoors     

  December 2014                                                     

In this edition: 

Work up a sweat with snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and other cold-weather fun

Warm up with a winter workout

It's easy to fall into the habit of staying indoors when the weather gets cold, but winter is really a great time to get active in MI Big Green Gym and enjoy the outdoors in a whole new way! Michigan state parks have plenty of trails, open space and natural obstacles, making them the perfect playground to explore, get some fresh air and stay active. Check out one of these upcoming events, or just get out and explore a park near you!

Ionia Recreation Area: EcoTrek Group Workout
Saturday, Dec. 13, 10 a.m.
This class will incorporate flexibility, strength training and cardio using natural surroundings to challenge your body. Pre-register by calling 517-243-6538 or emailing

P.J. Hoffmaster State Park: Guided Snowshoe Hike
Saturdays, Dec. 13, Dec. 20, Dec. 27, 10:30 a.m.
Bring your snowshoes or rent a pair from the park ($5 per pair) and meet at the Gillette Visitor Center. RSVP required, call 231-798-3573 for details.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park: Lantern-Lit Ski/Snowshoe Trail
Saturday, Dec. 27, 6 p.m.
Cross-country ski or snowshoe along the illuminated Superior Trail for stunning nighttime winter scenery. Call 906-885-5206 for details.

Learn more about these events and more by visiting the DNR Calendar of events.

Back to Top

Owl Prowls offer the chance to see a live wild owl

Bundle up for a nighttime adventure at an Owl Prowl

Looking for some family-friendly fun? Grab the kids, or some friends, and head to an Owl Prowl to learn all about owls and take an evening hike calling, watching and listening for live owls. Some programs include campfire treats (did someone say s'mores?), and kids will receive a fun and educational take-home gift.

Ludington State Park (Mason Co.): Saturday, Dec. 6, 5 p.m.

Meet at the park warming shelter near the park entrance. The program will be led by local birding enthusiast Dave Dister, who is currently writing a book about the birds of Ludington State Park. Children must be accompanied by an adult. For details call the park at 989-313-0000.

Maybury State Park (Wayne Co.): Saturday, Dec. 6, 6 p.m.

Meet at the Concession Building, using the 8 Mile Road entrance located just west of Beck Road (49575 8 Mile Rd., Northville). Bring something to drink, a roasting stick, if desired, and a flashlight. This program is sponsored by the Friends of Maybury State Park. Pre-registration is required by visiting For details call the park at 248-349-8390.

Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland Co.): Friday, Dec. 12 and Saturday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m.

Meet at the Hearth Shelter. S’mores will be provided prior to the hike. Pre-registration is required by calling 248-693-6767. For details call the park at 248-693-6767.

Brighton Recreation Area (Livingston Co.): Friday, Dec. 19, 4:30 p.m.

Meet at Chilson Pond, located behind the headquarters building on Chilson Road. For details call the park at 810-229-6566.

Back to Top

Cold weather, warm hearts: Help protect state parks by volunteering

Looks like we're in for a cold winter, but we know that our visitors have warm hearts, and we're asking your help to protect the state parks from invasive species. Volunteers will learn to identify these plants, and all equipment will be provided. All ages are welcome, so bring some friends and some warm work clothes to help preserve our beautiful state parks.

Saturday, Dec. 6:
Highland Recreation Area (Oakland Co.), 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Ionia Recreation Area (Ionia Co.), 9 a.m.-noon

Waterloo Recreation Area (Jackson Co.), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 7:
Highland Recreation Area (Oakland Co.), 1-4 p.m.
Muskegon State Park (Muskegon Co.), 1-4 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 13:
Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland Co.), 9 a.m.-noon

Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan Co.), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Sunday, Dec.14:
Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo Co.), 1-4 p.m.

Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw Co.), 1-4 p.m.

Volunteers should bring work gloves, drinking water and appropriate clothing for outdoor work, including long pants and sturdy, closed-toe shoes.

All volunteers are asked to register using the form available on the DNR website or via email. For workday details, maps and directions, visit the DNR website at and click the link Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays.

For details about southeastern Michigan workdays, contact Laurel Malvitz-Draper at 517-719-2285 or For details about southwestern Michigan workdays, contact Heidi Frei at 517-202-1360 or


Back to Top

Michigan state park lodges offer a cozy escape from Michigan's winter
Sears and Roebuck Modern Lodge at P.H. Hoeft State Park

Book a state park lodge for a cozy holiday

The holidays are here, and if you're ready for an affordable and fun holiday escape, look no further than Michigan state park lodges. These modern accommodations provide all the comforts of home, in a variety of beautiful outdoor settings. There are 14 lodges total throughout Michigan, located at the following state parks:

  • Cheboygan State Park's modern lodge sleeps 8 with 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, kitchen appliances, utensils, etc. provided. Call 231-627-2811 for reservations.
  • Furnace Hill Lodge at Fayette Historic State Park sleeps up to 10 people, includes a fuel-efficient furnace, remodeled kitchen, all appliances and bedding included. Call 906-644-2603 for reservations.
  • Grand Haven State Park's modern lodge sleeps 8, within walking distance to downtown Grand Haven. Includes TV/DVD player/VCR. Call 616-847-1309 for reservations
  • Bass Lake Lodge at Highland Recreation Area sleeps 6 and includes a foosball table, TV and DVD player, and gas fireplace. Call 248-889-3750 for reservations.
  • Sears and Roebuck Modern Lodge at Hoeft State Park features 3 bedrooms which sleep up to 8 people. Sun room, game room, master bedroom with attached bathroom. Call 989-734-2543 for reservations.
  • Shoreview Cabin at Lime Island State Park sleeps 6 and features a lakefront view. Call 906-643-8620 for reservations.
  • Dune Grass Villa at Mears State Park sleeps 8 and includes cable TV, a washer and dryer, fire circle and grills.
  • Kaug Wudjoo Lodge at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park sleeps up to 12 people in a private location overlooking Lake Superior. Call 906-885-5275 for reservations.
  • River Hawk Lodge at Proud Lake Recreation Area features dormitory-style accommodations with community bathrooms in each wing. Nearby are horseshoe pits and campfire rings, and one of the most scenic rivers in southeast Michigan: Huron River. Call 906-492-3415 for reservations.
  • Tahquamenon Falls Lodge, located halfway between the upper and lower falls at Tahquamenon Falls State Park, provides easy access to trails for hiking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing, and accommodates up to 8 people.
  • Traverse City State Park Cottage is only two miles from downtown Traverse City, one of the most popular resort towns in Michigan (sleeps 11). Call 231-922-5270 for reservations.
  • Twin Lakes State Park's modern lodge sleeps 6 and is not far from local restaurants, a golf course, snowmobile/ORV trail, boat launch and picnic area, making it a convenient overnight stay for those looking to explore the area. Call 906-288-3321 for reservations.
  • Bay Stone Lodge at Wells State Park sleeps up to 10 people in a cozy, cottage-style house. Call 906-863-9747 for reservations.

Wilson State Park’s modern lodge will be available starting May 15, 2015. Features include TV, DVD player, gas log fireplace, and overnight space for 6. Call 989-386-4067 for reservations.

Quick Links

ORV Trails


Go Get Outdoors Events

Recreation Passport

Campground & Harbor Reservations

Passport Perks

Michigan Historical Museums

Find a Park or Trail

Friends of the Parks

History Corner

Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse on the day of its dedication ceremony, July 18, 1930

Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse was erected on Belle Isle Park (now Michigan's 102nd state park) in 1930 in honor of William Livingstone, a prominent and popular Detroit resident whose accomplishments included banking, publishing and Great Lakes transportation. The lighthouse was designed by architect Albert Kahn and features a 47-foot art deco shaft of white Georgia marble, surmounted by a bronze lantern room reaching a height of 80 feet.

Photo and history courtesy of Belle Isle Conservancy Historical Committee