Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Comment on 10-Year Parks & Rec Plan

a news release of Michigan DNR

he Department of Natural Resources is inviting the public to comment on the new draft 2009-2019 Strategic Plan for its Parks and Recreation Division.

This plan represents the culmination of two and one-half years of extensive outreach effort to the public and other stakeholders who helped define the goals, objectives, and actions identified in the draft plan.

The draft plan will be available for a 30-day public comment period, and comments may be submitted to via e-mail, or in writing to: Paul N. Curtis, Park Management Plan Administrator, DNR-Parks and Recreation Division, P.O. Box 30257, Lansing, MI 48909-7757.

The public comment period will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 30, 2009.

See thefull draft plan
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Ski Resorts Offer Free Nordic Lessons

based on a news article of The Flint Journal, "Free Nordic ski lessons available," by David V. Graham, Dec 26, 2008

Ten cross-country ski resorts in northern Michigan and Ontario will offer free Nordic ski lessons for adults and children on January 11.

The Great Lakes Winter Trails Council has been providing this service for over 20 years. Children who participate get free beginner trail passes and equipment. Adults receive a 50% discount.

About 300 people participate annually. Bob Frye, a past president of the winter trails council, said said those wanting to participate must sign up at least two days in advance, and they can do that by calling the resort where they want to take the lessons. The lessons are provided by professional Nordic ski instructors.

Participating resorts include Aspen Grove X-C Center, Boyne Highlands X-C Center, Boyne Mountains' Nordic Center, Champion Hill, Corsair Ski Trails, Crystal Mountain Resort, Garland Resort, the Homestead Resort and Stokely Creek.

See Great Lakes Winter Trails Council
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Aerobic Exercise Suppresses Appetite

from a news release of the American Physiological Society

A vigorous 60-minute workout on a treadmill affects the release of two key appetite hormones, ghrelin and peptide YY, while 90 minutes of weight lifting affects the level of only ghrelin, according to a new study. Taken together, the research shows that aerobic exercise is better at suppressing appetite than non-aerobic exercise and provides a possible explanation for how that happens.

There are several hormones that help regulate appetite, but the researchers looked at two of the major ones, ghrelin and peptide YY. Ghrelin is the only hormone known to stimulate appetite. Peptide YY suppresses appetite.

In this experiment, 11 male university students did three eight-hour sessions. During one session they ran for 60 minutes on a treadmill, and then rested for seven hours. During another session they did 90 minutes of weight lifting, and then rested for six hours and 30 minutes. During another session, the participants did not exercise at all.

During each of the sessions, the participants filled out surveys in which they rated how hungry they felt at various points. They also received two meals during each session. The researchers measured ghrelin and peptide YY levels at multiple points along the way.

They found that the treadmill (aerobic) session caused ghrelin levels to drop and peptide YY levels to increase, indicating the hormones were suppressing appetite. However, a weight-lifting (non-aerobic) session produced a mixed result. Ghrelin levels dropped, indicating appetite suppression, but peptide YY levels did not change significantly.

This line of research may eventually lead to more effective ways to use exercise to help control weight, according to the senior author, David J. Stensel of Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.

While the study showed that exercise suppresses appetite hormones, the next step is to establish whether this change actually causes the suppression of eating.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Arbor Day Mini Grants for West Michigan

Arbor Day logo
a news release of Michigan DNR

Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials announced grants totaling $10,000 have been awarded through the DNR's Urban Forestry program to 51 Michigan communities and organizations for Arbor Day activities.

West Michigan recipients are:
  • Cedar Springs Public Library
  • Cedar Springs (city)
  • Emmett County Conservation District
  • Gaylord
  • Herrick District Library (Ottawa County)
  • Leila Arboretum (Calhoun County)
  • Mecosta County Park Commission
  • Norwood Area Historical Society (Charlevoix)
  • Pennock Health Services (Barry County)
  • Village of Ellsworth (Antrim County)
  • Woodland Township (Barry County)
  • Yankee Springs Township (Barry County)

The grant program, with funds from the USDA Forest Service, was created to help schools and communities to observe Arbor Day and the role that trees and forests play in our everyday lives. Grant recipients will receive up to $200 in matching grant funds for planting trees on public lands, hosting an Arbor Day celebration or purchasing natural resource related library materials. Grant projects must be completed by June 30, 2009.

The nation's first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska on April 10, 1872. Its founder was J. Sterling Morton, who had a love for trees that he developed during his upbringing in Michigan. Missing the vibrant array of forests in Michigan, Morton championed a tree-planting holiday in Nebraska, to replant trees that were cleared for building materials and fuel.

Arbor Day has been observed as an official state holiday in Michigan since 1885. This coming year, Arbor Day will be celebrated on April 24, 2009.

See Community Forestry, or contact Kevin Sayers at (517) 241-4632,
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Friday, December 26, 2008

Izaak Walton Family Winterfest & More

Izaak Walton League Logo
from the Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaak Walton League

January 24, 2009, Saturday, the Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaak Walton League will host its annual Winterfest Family Outing. The event runs from 10am - 4 pm and includes ice-fishing, sledding, cross country skiing, candle-making, snow games and sculpture, bird-feeder craft. Fishing poles, sleds and ski equipment will be available for those who need to borrow equipment. Lunch 11:30am - 3pm of chili, hot dogs, hot cocoa, etc. The event is at the Conservation Center in Cannon Township, Kent County.

On Friday, March 6, the 2009 Annual Banquet of the Michigan Ikes will be held at the Centennial Country Club — 3361 Charlevoix Dr SE, Grand Rapids MI (South of 28th Street/East of Kraft. The banquet is open to the public. The guest speaker is John Hesse, an adjunct professor at Michigan State University. Mr. Hesse will discuss his 2008 trip with Michigan State University students to the Arctic and how global warming is reducing the Arctic ice mass and impacting the flora and fauna.

The evening will conclude with a silent auction including: incredible deals on sports equipment, paintings and fine art work, apparel, fishing charters, B&Bs and lodging packages, raffle prizes, gift certificates for salons, fine dining, entertainment, and much more. Cash only.

Tickets are $27. Buy tickets by mailing a reservation form (follow link below) with check by 2/20/09.

See Banquet Reservation
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More Than Just a Trolley in Petoskey

from an article in the Petoskey News-Review, "City officials excited about passage of railway legislation", by Noah Fowler, Dec 23, 2008

Last week, the Michigan House passed SB 1536 unanimously. So who cares? Petoskey cares. Walkers and bikers care. The newly passed legislation will allow the City of Petoskey to purchase a downtown rail corridor from MDOT. Now the bill just needs Granholm's signature.

Significant work on the project has already been done, and city manager George Korthauer said he believes the process will be able to move quickly once the bill is signed.

“The city and state will have to come to some agreement on an appraised value and then begin process to acquire it,” said Korthauer.

A spokesman for MDOT said the state organization is aware of the importance of this property to the local community, but does not have a specific timetable set.

The purchase will make it possible to reinstate the downtown trolley, but a walking and biking path will run the length of the linear space from the Zipp Building at the corner of Petoskey and Grove streets to Bay View.

“It’s all part of a vision using the trolley as a tourist attraction and as a way to take people from parking into town,” said Smith. “This adds a linkage and it will make it easier for someone in Bay View to stroll into downtown.”
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Kids- Discover Michigan Skiing

kids at ski area
a news release of Michigan Snowsports Industries Association

Ski areas across the state have teamed up with Michigan McDonald’s restaurants to offer a popular and very affordable introduction to the sport of skiing and snowboarding, called Discover Michigan Skiing.

The program, which has run every January for the past 15 years, includes a beginner lesson, ski or snowboard rental equipment and a beginner-area ski lift pass or cross-country trail pass. Twenty-four ski facilities are offering the package, which will be honored from January 5 through January 31, 2009. The price for the Discover Michigan Skiing program - downhill or cross-country skiing - is $30 for adults and $25 for children seven to 14 years old. The snowboard price is $40, for everyone 10 years and older.

The lesson covers basic maneuvering on skis or snowboards, including stopping, turning, riding the lifts, and getting up from a fall.

To sign up, interested beginners must have a Discover Michigan Skiing Value Voucher. They are available at participating Michigan McDonald’s restaurants and MSIA retail ski stores while quantities last. A printable voucher is also available by clicking on Discover Michigan Skiing & Snowboarding Value Voucher. The voucher lists all ski facilities offering the program. Participants choose the place they wish to visit and then must call to pre-register. Ski facility personnel will give instructions on what to wear and where to meet.

Program times differ from ski area to ski area and skiers must call for reservations. Steve Kershner, MSIA chairman and director of skiing for Shanty Creek in Bellaire, suggests calling as early as possible, since lesson times fill quickly.

As a special bonus, everyone who completes the program will receive a packet of ski information in the mail, including a coupon valid for $20 off the purchase of $100 or more in ski-related merchandise at participating MSIA retail ski shops.

Participating ski areas include: Apple Mountain in Freeland; Big Powderhorn in Bessemer; Bittersweet in Otsego; Boyne Highlands of Harbor Springs; Boyne Mountain of Boyne Falls; Caberfae Peaks of Cadillac; Cross Country Ski Headquarters of Roscommon; Hanson Hills of Grayling; Marquette Mountain of Marquette; Mont Ripley in Houghton; Mt. Brighton of Brighton; Mt. Holiday of Traverse City; Mt. Holly in Holly; Mt. Zion in Ironwood; Norway Mountain in Norway; Nubs Nob in Harbor Springs; Pine Knob in Clarkston; Pine Mountain of Iron Mountain; Shanty Creek of Bellaire; Ski Brule in Iron River; Swiss Valley Ski Area of Jones; The Homestead of Glen Arbor; Timber Ridge Ski Area of Gobles; and Treetops Resort of Gaylord.

For more information, call MSIA at (248) 620-4448.

See Discover Michigan Skiing & Snowboarding Value Voucher
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Skip the Local Sushi- New Tapeworm in Great Lakes

Asian Tapeworm
Asian Tapeworm found in Lake Huron Walleye
photo from
from a news article in the Muskegon Chronicle, "New tapeworm found in Great Lakes fish," by Jeff Alexander, Dec 22, 2008

Asian Tapeworms have been found in Lake Huron walleye by a researcher at the Environment Canada research station in Montreal. This is the 186th invasive species identified in the Great Lakes.

Michigan DNR reports that anglers have found the tapeworms in fish from Saginaw Bay and some inland lakes.

This species, Bothriocephalus acheilognathi, is a pernicious invader and is likely to spread throughout the Great Lakes region. In large fish the worm can reach a foot in length.

The tapeworm causes weight loss, anemia and death in young fish. It is safe for humans to eat fish with tapeworms when the flesh is well-cooked, smoked or pickled. Eating the fish raw is not recommended. According to a Michigan DNR memo, “It is a very bad idea to eat any freshwater fish raw or poorly cooked as fish parasites use fish-eating mammals and birds as hosts and it is not known if humans can also be hosts."

Fish tapeworms of various kinds are found nearly everywhere, but their numbers have soared in recent years. The DNR also recommends gutting fish immediately after making the catch and disposing of the entrails after returning to shore. It is illegal to dispose of fish guts in Michigan waters.

See DNR Aquatic Invasive Species Hazard Analysis
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Calling all Young Artists for Michigan Junior Duck Stamp Contest

2008 Junior Duck Stamp
2008 Junior Duck Stamp winner
from USFWS
a news release of US Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now accepting entries for the 2009 Michigan Junior Duck Stamp Contest, which will be held at Green Point Environmental Learning Center in Saginaw, Mich., on March 25, 2009. Entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2009.

"An increasing body of evidence shows, that a relationship with the natural world helps children become healthier in body and mind -- the Junior Duck Stamp program is wonderful gateway to that relationship," said H. Dale Hall, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has held a Junior Duck Stamp Contest in Michigan for several years. Last year, Yi Li from Ann Arbor won the Michigan contest with a drawing of a pair of Red-breasted mergansers. "We hope to have an even broader level of participation this year from schools and students across the state," said Becky Goche, Junior Duck Stamp state coordinator.

This dynamic educational program uses both conservation and design principles to teach wetland habitat and waterfowl biology to students in kindergarten through high school. The program provides an opportunity for students to artistically express their knowledge of the diversity, interdependence and beauty of wildlife.

"The Junior Duck Stamp Contest celebrates children's curiosity to learn about nature," said Tom Melius, Midwest Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "By using their artistic talents, younger generations can develop an appreciation for migratory birds, waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wildlife they may otherwise not be exposed to."

Students may submit artwork featuring one of the following species: whistling ducks, swans, geese, brant, dabbling ducks, diving ducks, sea ducks, mergansers, stiff tails, or Hawaiian ducks. A full list of permitted species is available online at Judging will be open to the public, and will be begin at 9:00 a.m. on March 25, 2009 at the Green Point Environmental Learning Center, 3010 Maple Street in Saginaw. Artwork entries will be judged on the basis of original design, anatomical accuracy, artistic composition and suitability for reproduction on a 1" by 1.5" stamp.

During the contest, students will be judged in four groups according to grade level: K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12.Three first, three second and three third place entries, along with 16 honorable mentions will be selected from each group. Contest judges select a "Best of Show" from the twelve first place winners, which will be submitted to the Federal Duck Stamp Office and entered into the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest held in April in Washington D.C. The winner of the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest, along with his/her parent or guardian and teacher will receive a free trip to a First Day of Sale ceremony in late June/early July.

The first place art from the national contest is used to create a National Junior Duck Stamp each year. The Junior Duck Stamp is available for $5 from the U.S. Postal Service and from many National Wildlife Refuges. Proceeds from the sale of the stamps support conservation education and provide awards and scholarships for participating students, teachers and schools.

A downloadable entry form and information on contest rules and regulations for teachers and supervising adults can be found at the link below. For additional information or if you have questions regarding your student's or school's participation in the Junior Duck Stamp contest, please contact your Junior Duck Stamp State Coordinator, Becky Goche at (989) 759-1669 or Entries and reference forms should be postmarked by March 15, 2009 and mailed to:

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
Attn: Junior Duck Stamp Coordinator
6975 Mower Road
Saginaw, MI 48601

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service.

See US FWS Junior Duck Stamp Program
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Trails Day, Jan 20 at Hartwick Pines

snowshoeing at Bowman Lake
a news release of Michigan DNR

Hartwick Pines State Park will celebrate Winter Trails Day, Saturday, Jan. 10, in conjunction with the national event, now in its 14th year, that encourages the public to get outdoors in winter and spend a day on the snow.

Winter Trails Day at Hartwick Pines will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Snowshoeing equipment and instruction will be available at the Michigan Forest Visitor Center, so advance registration is recommended.

In addition to free snowshoe rental, activities will include guided snowshoe hikes; clinics on winter wildlife; winter fitness, survival and first aid; children's activities and free giveaways. The Cross Country Ski Shop in Grayling is helping sponsor the event by providing snowshoes for the day's activities.

"Snowshoeing is a great activity to get people outside in winter and is a healthy activity besides being fun," said Rob Burg, Hartwick Pines historian and local organizer for the Winter Trails Day event. "This also is a great way to enjoy the park's famous old-growth forest that so many people come to see in the summer from a different perspective."

According to SnowSports Industries America, a national nonprofit trade association, snowshoeing is an excellent form of low-risk, low-impact aerobic exercise that can help improve or maintain cardiovascular fitness as well as burn calories.

"It's a great way to work off those extra pounds that people usually put on over the holidays," Burg said.

Hartwick Pines State Park has more programs scheduled this winter. Cross-country ski nights will be held Jan. 3, 17 and 31 and Feb. 14 and 28. Guided snowshoe hikes will be Jan. 24 and Feb. 7 and 21. A two-day evening snowshoe-building workshop will be held Feb. 28-March 1 and the park's Winter Lecture Series returns Jan. 18, Feb. 15 and March 8. All programs and events, except the snowshoe-building workshop, are free; however, all motor vehicles entering a state park or recreation area must display a Motor Vehicle Permit, available for purchase at the park entrance. Cost is $24 for a resident annual and $6 for a resident daily.

To learn more about Winter Trails Day and register online, visit Winter Trails Day. Information also is available by contacting the park at (989) 348-2537 or by e-mail: Rob Burg
See Hartwick Pines State Park.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Heel Pain of Plantar Fasciitis Can Be Eliminated

a news release of the Radiological Society of North America

Combining an ultrasound-guided technique with steroid injection is 95 percent effective at relieving the common and painful foot problem called plantar fasciitis, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"There is no widely accepted therapy or standard of care for patients when first-line treatments fail to relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis," said the study's lead author, Luca M. Sconfienza, M.D., from Italy's University of Genoa. "Our new technique is an effective, one-time outpatient procedure."

Plantar fasciitis, the most common cause of heel pain, is an inflammation of the connective tissue called the plantar fascia that runs along the bottom of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot. The condition accounts for 11 percent to 15 percent of all foot symptoms requiring professional care and affects one million people annually in the U.S.

Conservative treatments, which may take up to a year to be effective, include rest, exercises to stretch the fascia, night splints and arch supports.

When the condition does not respond to conservative treatments, patients may opt for shockwave therapy, in which sound waves are directed at the area of heel pain to stimulate healing. Shockwave therapy is painful, requires multiple treatments and is not always effective. Complications may include bruising, swelling, pain, numbness or tingling and rupture of the plantar fascia. In the most severe cases of plantar fasciitis, patients may undergo invasive surgery to detach the fascia from the heel bone.

For this study, Dr. Sconfienza and colleagues used a new ultrasound-guided technique, along with steroid injection, on 44 patients with plantar fasciitis that was unresponsive to conservative treatments.

After injection of a small amount of anesthesia, the anesthetic needle is used to repeatedly puncture the site where the patient feels the pain. This technique is known as dry-needling. Dry-needling creates a small amount of local bleeding that helps to heal the fasciitis. Lastly, a steroid is injected around the fascia to eliminate the inflammation and pain. The technique is performed with ultrasound guidance to improve accuracy and to avoid injecting the steroids directly into the plantar fascia, which could result in rupture.

After the 15-minute procedure, symptoms disappeared for 42 of the study's 44 patients (95 percent) within three weeks.

"This therapy is quicker, easier, less painful and less expensive than shockwave therapy," Dr. Sconfienza said. "In cases of mild plantar fasciitis, patients should first try noninvasive solutions before any other treatments. But when pain becomes annoying and affects the activities of daily living, dry-needling with steroid injection is a viable option."

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Grand Vision Survey Resuts Say Stop Sprawl

The Grand Vision

from a news article of Traverse City Record-Eagle, "Grand Vision survey results are in," by Melissa Domsic, Dec 20, 2008

The Grand Vision has been hailed as one of the most publicly supported surveys in the nation concerning the growth of the Grand Traverse Area.

Now the results are in. People was growth contained more to urban areas, and sprawl to be minimized. People want expanded public transportation, more sidewalks and bike trails.

More than 12,000 people in the six counties in the Traverse City area completed the scorecard for the Grand Vision. There is a great desire to preserve the small-town character, and restrict sprawl. Towns like Suttons Bay, Elk Rapids, or Kingsley have their own unique flavor, and that should remain unchanged.

"The preferred scenario keeps a small urban footprint with growth in villages and cities and preservation of open rural space."

"It is clear that people do not want the future to simply be a continuation of the patterns seen today which could result in additional sprawl, loss of rural lifestyle and potential decay of the towns and villages," the report stated.

Of the four scenarios on the scorecard, Scenario C garnered 51% (5,946) of the votes. It reads: "Growth centered in cities and villages, especially in Traverse City and Cadillac. Open rural land will be largely preserved. Expanded regional bus service, sidewalks and bike paths in villages and cities but limited new or widened roads."

See Grand Traverse Grand Vision Includes Trails
See Say Your Vision Includes Trails
See The Grand Vision
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Snowshoe Hikes Scheduled for Hoffmaster State Park

a news release of Michigan DNR

In the tradition of community wide snowshoe hikes that were popular in New England in the 1920s, Hoffmaster State Park is hosting snowshoe outings for families this winter at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, and at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14. These hikes, sponsored by the Gillette Nature Association, are suitable for children seven years old and up accompanied by an adult. Snowshoes are provided by GNA for a small donation to defray the cost of snowshoe maintenance.

Snowshoe hikes begin at the Gillette Visitor Center. Pre-registration is required for all participants to ensure there is enough equipment. Those interested can call the Gillette Center at 231-798-3573. Participants should arrive 15-30 minutes before the program begins for proper snowshoe fitting. Participants should wear winter boots and layered outdoor clothing. Children under seven can be pulled by a parent in a sled. Snowshoe sizes are not available for children under seven years old.

The weather along Lake Michigan with associated lake effect snows can be considerably different than inland locations, and wind can be a factor. Participants should be prepared for all types of conditions. Six or more inches of snow are needed for snowshoeing. If snow is absent, the naturalist will lead participants on a winter exploration of the park. Refreshments will be served following the hikes.The Feb. 14 hike will conclude with a bonfire at the park's pavilion.

A Michigan State Park Motor Vehicle Permit is required to enter Hoffmaster State Park. Permits are available for purchase at the park entrance for $6 for a Michigan resident daily permit or $24 for an annual permit. Permits for non-Michigan residents are $8 for a daily and $29 for an annual.

See P.J. Hoffmaster Park
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

MUCC works to stop raid on Natural Resources Trust Fund

a news release of Michigan United Conservation Club

Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) slammed a proposal to siphon constitutionally-protected dollars out of Natural Resources Trust Fund to transportation infrastructure projects as it urged Governor Granholm to denounce the idea and reached out to sportsmen and conservationists across Michigan.

A transportation funding task force created by the legislature in 2007 released a final report of recommendations in November which contains a surface infrastructure funding recommendation that would "[r]edirect all or a portion of the Natural Resources Trust Fund to transportation." MUCC Executive Director Dennis Muchmore likened the proposal to past failures to raid the constitutionally-protected Trust Fund, but cautioned against taking the recommendation lightly. "Sportsmen, conservationists, and general recreational users of Michigan's natural resources are faced with the undermining of one of our real success stories," said Muchmore. "The Trust Fund is Michigan's crown jewel for providing access and development of natural resources, and these resources provide unmatched recreational opportunities in addition to tourism and job creation."

Since the mid-1970s, Michigan's Natural Resources Trust Fund has aided state and local units of government with grants to acquire or develop recreational property for the general use and enjoyment of all the citizens of our state. The Trust Fund began with the passage of PA 204 of 1976, deriving its funding from royalties on the sale and lease of state-owned mineral rights. In 1985, 1994, and 2002 Michigan voters strengthened the Trust Fund with amendments that were approved overwhelmingly. Just recently, $48.5 Million in grants was awarded to entities throughout the state for rehabilitation and improved access to Michigan's natural resources.

Muchmore agreed that Michigan is in need of improvements to transportation infrastructure, but said raiding the Trust Fund would eliminate Michigan's largest program that assists local communities with significant means to protect and restore natural areas. "Trust Fund grants create broader access for use of Michigan's natural resources while also creating local jobs through restoration projects that ultimately attract jobs due to improved communities. The Trust Fund is an investment in our natural resources as well as our communities and quality of life."

MUCC is currently reaching out to national and state-based conservation organizations as well as the general public for support in stopping the transportation task force's recommendation to raid the trust fund. "Sportsmen and women in Michigan make up 43% of the voting population in Michigan. We spend $3.4 billion each year on our activities. The legislature should strongly consider both the economic and social impact a raid on the Trust Fund would mean to us and all the local communities involved," said Muchmore.

See Michigan United Conservation Club
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Muskegon Watershed Protection

Muskegon River
Muskegon River
photo by Terry Stilson
from the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, Winter Newsletter 2008-2009

Earlier this year, the Land Conservancy of West Michigan was awarded a grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for the purpose of purchasing conservation easements of critical lands within the Lower Muskegon Watershed. These grant funds will allow the Land Conservancy to seek important lands that protect habitat for wildlife and fish, preserve and enhance water quality, and protect scenic views from public roadways and from the river system itself.

The Muskegon River’s headwaters are in Houghton Lake in Roscommon County and it flows into our service area through central Newaygo and Muskegon Counties, emptying into Lake Michigan through Muskegon Lake. The Muskegon River is the second longest river system completely contained within the state of Michigan (the Grand River is the longest), and the system drains approximately 500 mi² of land within our service area.

The Muskegon River has been the source of great interest because of its unmatched natural resources and habitat for fish, such as the lake sturgeon. Also because of its powerful current, it is a source of hydroelectric power with the Croton, Hardy and Rogers Dams being located on the mainstem of the river (Croton and Hardy Dams are located within our service area). Historically, the river was a highway of timber when Michigan was cleared of the virgin white pine forests shortly after European settlement. It supported several lumber mills on Muskegon Lake as well as upstream on the river itself.

By having the grant funds available, the Land Conservancy has the ability to offer money to owners of important lands within the river system. Usually, only income and property tax benefits are available to our landowners who donate conservation easements. Because of a variety of factors, donations of conservation easement rights for many landowners are not feasible, but these grant funds help bridge the gap in many of these cases.

Identification of high quality sites throughout the Lower Muskegon Watershed was a task taken on by the Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) at Grand Valley State University. Rod Denning of AWRI, who has experience working with the Conservancy, took on the task of mapping characteristics of the watershed including natural land cover, river frontage, critical habitat, and water quality impact, among numerous other factors. Rod’s final map has been supplied to the Conservancy and shows potential conservation areas throughout the watershed. This map will not only be used to contact landowners for the purposes of this project, but will be used for many years to continue to target private natural lands.

Along with the Michigan DEQ and AWRI, the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly out of Big Rapids and the West Michigan office of The Nature Conservancy are partners in this project. With the wealth of knowledge that these organizations supply, the Conservancy is confident that lands of the highest quality are being targeted for protection.

See Land Conservancy of West Michigan
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vaccine for West Nile on the Horizon?

from a news release of the University of Queensland

Research conducted at The University of Queensland could contribute to the development of a vaccine and cure for West Nile virus and Dengue fever.

Led by Associate Professor Alexander Khromykh, a team of researchers from UQ's School of Molecular and Microbial Sciences identified a novel characteristic of the virus family to which these diseases belong.

This family, the flaviviruses, produces a small molecule. One of its functions is to control the response of the host to the viral infection. The molecule itself is part of the genetic material of the virus, and is labeled sfRNA.

The researchers stated that all flaviviruses tested thus far have contained the sfRNA. This means that targeting that specific part with an antiviral therapy may be effective for the whole range of flaviviruses.

By using reverse genetic engineering they were able to generate viruses that do not produce this sfRNA. The viruses that were missing the sfRNA were no longer able to kill their hosts or elicit disease symptoms. However, the engineered viruses did trigger the antiviral immune response in the host. This means that the body would create its own protection against all flaviviruses without contracting the disease.

These tests were conducted with mice. "The knowledge obtained from our studies with West Nile virus should be readily applicable for designing anti-viral drugs and engineering similar vaccine candidates for other medically important flaviviruses," said team leader Associate Professor Alexander Khromykh.

The study will be published in the December issue of the prestigious journal from Cell Press, Cell Host & Microbe.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Manistee Audubon Launches Blog

Manistee Audubon Blog Banner

The Manistee Audubon Society has launched a blog with news of all things feathered.

One recent post reports on the "Chickadee Christmas." On Saturday, December 6, the Manistee Chapter of Michigan Audubon and Resident Managers, Rich and Deb Krieger, hosted "A Chickadee Christmas." The open house event featured book and candy sales, as well as interactive learning opportunities for families and kids. Despite the wintry weather, we had visitors from as far away as Grand Rapids.

Of course, Lake Bluff's avian visitors were out in terrific numbers. Red- and White-Breasted Nutatches, English House Sparrows, Goldfinches, Tufted Titmouse, Cardinal, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, and Juncos were all seen on Saturday.

See Manistee Audubon Blog
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Traverse City State Park May Gain 29 Acres

Expansion land for Traverse City State Park
Traverse City State Park plans to acquire
nearly 29 acres of land to the south of the camping area
which will include sections of Mitchell Creek.
photo: Jan-Michael Stump / Record-Eagle
from a news release of the Traverse City Record Eagle by Sheri McWhirter, "Expansion may be in TC State Park's future," Dec 12, 2008

Another of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Projects which is likely to be funded in western Michigan is an expansion of the Traverse City State Park which will increase its size by half. More campsites and hiking trails are included in the plan.

The expansion is for 29 acres to the south of the park and will include a section of Mitchell Creek. Currently the park includes a popular beach and 343-site campground, but offers few other options for visitors. This purchase will add a natural area to the park.

"Traverse City State Park is an urban campground, meaning we're closer to the community," said Tim Schreiner, park supervisor.

The property to be acquired already includes several trails, which would need to be improved and signed. The park might even offer guided hikes. Fishing sites could be an option on Mitchell Creek. Brook and brown trout, and salmon are known to be found in the creek.

Owners, Arnold and Kathryn Bohn, soldc some of the original park acres to the state, and are happy that the remaining area could become part of the park. It's a wooded area with "a lot of trees and deer back there," said Mary Detloff, of the Michigan DNR.

Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of the acquisition is that it will connect the state park to the area's TART Trail System and the 83-acre Reffitt Nature Preserve owned by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy.

One issue that will need to be addressed is crossing of a railroad line between the existing park and the new parcel. Also, homeless people have been using the property, and there is a great deal of work to be done to clean the area.

The entire project hinges on the legislature and governor approving the recommendations for the projects which have been presented to them for this year.

See Michigan Recreation Trust Funds for West Michigan
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

109th Bird Count: Dec 14, 2008 - Jan 5, 2009

Christmas Bird Count Map
a news release of Michigan Audubon Society

From December 14, 2008 through January 5, 2009, tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas will take part in an adventure that has become a family tradition among generations. Families and students, birders and scientists, armed with binoculars, bird guides and checklists will head out on an annual mission - often before dawn. For over one hundred years, the desire to both make a difference and to experience the beauty of nature has driven dedicated people to leave the comfort of a warm house in the middle of winter.

Each of the citizen scientists who brave snow, wind, or rain, to take part in the Christmas Bird Count make an enormous contribution to conservation. Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations - and to help guide conservation action.

From feeder-watchers and field observers to count compilers and regional editors, everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Count does it for love of birds and the excitement of friendly competition -- and with the knowledge that their efforts are making a difference for science and bird conservation.

The data collected by observers over the past century provides a picture of how the continent's bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years. In the 1980's CBC data documented the decline of wintering populations of the American Black Duck, after which conservation measures were put into effect to reduce hunting pressure on this species. More recently, in 2007, the data were instrumental in the development of two Audubon State of the Birds Reports - Common Birds in Decline, which revealed that some of America's most beloved and familiar birds have taken a nosedive over the past forty years, and WatchList 2007, which identified 178 rarer species in the continental U.S. and 39 in Hawaii that are imperiled. These two reports helped scientists and policy-makers to both identify threats to birds and habitat, and promote broad awareness of the need to address them.

For more information in Mason County contact Carole Olson
For more information in Lake County contact Bonnie & Janie Stout
For more information in Manistee County contact Brian Allen
For more information in Oceana County contact Colleen Walsh
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Friday, December 12, 2008

October Outdoor Sales Continue Industry Growth Trend During Recession

from a news release of the Outdoor Industry Association

While early predictors show evidence of a decline in specific outdoor channels starting in November 2008, outdoor industry sales have remained fairly robust since the nation officially entered a recession in December 2007; posting a healthy 9.6% increase overall and outpacing traditional retail markets, according to the most recent edition of The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Outdoor Topline Report, produced for OIA by the Leisure Trends Group.

According to The OIA Outdoor Topline Report, the relatively inexpensive and convenient outdoor vacation has remained appealing to core outdoor shoppers throughout the year and may be the industry's bright spot as consumers look to the outdoors as an escape from the pressures of daily life. Internet sales showed a robust 21.6% growth since December 2007 and core chain and specialty stores remained healthy, growing at 10.0% and 4.7% respectively.

In monthly sales, October retail sales for all core outdoor stores (chain, internet, specialty)* gained 8% in dollars compared to October 2007. All four major product categories (equipment, equipment accessories, apparel and footwear) grew in October. The largest increases came from apparel and equipment.

According to The OIA Outdoor Topline Report, all core outdoor stores were up 6% in total unit sales and 9% in dollar sales year to date. In YTD dollars, all equipment increased 10%, equipment accessories 11%, apparel 9% and footwear 4%.

Comparing dollar sales growth October 2008 to October 2007:
  • Outdoor chain +9%
  • Outdoor internet +33%
  • Outdoor specialty -3%
  • Paddlesports -5%

According to trendspotter and OIA Rendezvous keynote speaker Marian Salzman, the only businesses in which she would consider investing right now are soup and camping. Her reasoning is that Americans will be looking to escape the long-term economic turmoil and constant barrage of the media by returning to low-cost, simple activities that involve the entire family. If this prediction holds true, as it has in the past, businesses that support cycling, camping, hiking, fishing and paddling activities may be very well positioned for several years.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sign Electronic Petition- Tell Obama to Support Trails

a news release of Rails to Trails Conservancy

Please sign our petition to President-elect Obama and key congressional leaders, encouraging them to fund these important bicycle and pedestrian projects.

Within days of the president-elect taking office, Congress will likely pass a new large-scale economic recovery package, aiming to create millions of jobs.

A significant percentage of this package may be allocated specifically to transportation infrastructure. This presents both a threat and an opportunity.

The threat: Unless we speak up, these transportation funds will go overwhelmingly to road projects—the same unbalanced strategy that has created our existing transportation problems.

The opportunity: Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, in partnership with Thunderhead Alliance and America Bikes, has collected a list of hundreds of ready-to-go active transportation projects from communities across the country. These projects would create new jobs and revitalize communities by funding trails, bike lanes, sidewalks and other infrastructure.

This would meet the ultimate goal of the recovery package: creating immediate jobs. Additionally, such an investment strategy would provide both immediate economic benefits and lasting positive change.

The long-term benefits are many: promoting local businesses along active transportation corridors; reducing health care costs; and curbing climate change emissions and oil dependency. These projects would also establish the principle that active transportation infrastructure is a wise, efficient and desirable public investment.

Sign the petition
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Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance Gets New Home

from Nancy Krupiarz

It’s official. We have just completed our move to the Michigan Fitness Foundation! Our office space is wonderful and so are our new roommates! Our phone number remains the same, but for the next couple weeks, the call will be answered by the Michigan Fitness Foundation receptionist. Just ask for Nancy or Barry, and they’ll forward the call. In early January, we are getting new phones and will have our direct lines as we had before. However, our fax number has changed. It is now 517-347-8145.

The new mailing address is P.O. Box 27187, Lansing, MI 48909. Our physical address is 1213 Center St. in the Old Town neighborhood of Lansing.

See Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Grand Rapids Man Builds Ski "Wheelchair"

ski chair for handicapped
Tom Hernon uses his ski chair
follow link to see the video-
link would not embed properly
from a news release of WZZM TV 13, "Grand Rapids man builds snow wheelchair," Dec 9, 2008

Tom Hernon of Grand Rapids broke his back racing dirt bikes 11 years ago, leaving him paralyzed. But he doesn't let winter slow him down.

He's invented a chair, and started a company to manufacture it- Back 2 Sports. After his injury he quickly realized that the sort of equipment that was available to help paralyzed people participate in sports was not the best. So he began building his own adaptable wheelchairs.

He started doing the luge at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex. But he had trouble getting from the car to the lodge. "People would have to just drag me. It got to be pretty tough," Tom said. So he converted a wheelchair so it could have skis instead of wheels.

He added, "One of the biggest things I miss from being paralyzed, I can't go walk through the woods. I grew up in the woods and I love going and hiking and fishing and all that kind of stuff. This can get you out there. You can go ice fishing."

Hernon and his son have designed a chair that can be converted for tennis, bicycling and more. That makes it more affordable than the typical adaptive wheelchair. Usually each separate type of chair can cost several thousand dollars. He's currently building the chairs on a small scale but he'd like to find a manufacturer that can get the cost down below $1000. That way a person could afford a chair that would allow them to participate in several different activities.

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WE WON $1000 for the NCTA


If everyone acts quickly we could win $1000 for the NCTA!

Go to
Register on the site (they will not send you lots of junk emails)
Log in and go back to
Click on the top right star above the picture of the sad, burned Kekekabic Trail

All votes must be cast by midnight (EST) Tuesday, December 9. Last week's winner had 334 votes, so tell your friends. We'll have to enlist a bunch of trail supporters to make it happen.

(I won't lie, the win would also provide me some money which would allow me to continue to do things like provide this blog and the NCT News blog, but I promise to donate $1000 to NCTA, and $1000 to World Vision)

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Skiing at Crystal Valley

skier at Crystal Valley
Ellen breaks trail on the level Loop 1
by Joan H. Young

Ellen and I had planned to meet and ski on Saturday, but Mother Nature decided that we needed more snow, so we all stayed home and played blizzard instead.

Sunday we ventured to the Crystal Valley Ski Trails, not so very far south of Scottville. I’m always surprised at how close this is... only 15 miles... closer to me than even Ludington State Park or Pentwater Pathways.

When we arrived there were two other gals there, also members of the Oceana Cross Country Ski Association (they built and maintain these trails). So we all decided to ski together. Two of the fellows were out on snowmobiles. The snow was so deep and fluffy that they decided they had to knock it down a bit before they would even be able to run the groomer.

The four of us on skis headed out on Loop 1, the easy one. But these ladies were headed straight for their newly opened intermediate Loop 3. When we arrived at the turnoff we all headed into the brand new, unbroken snow. Did I mention blizzard? There was over a foot of new fluff, but just a little heavier... like powdered sugar.

“Let’s just go to the top of the ridge,” said Marijo. Now, the word ridge worried me right off. I am definitely not a great skier. Ellen keeps telling me that I have to stop calling myself a novice. But the truth is that I only started this skiing thing a few years ago, and even advanced intermediate trails turn me into a nail biter. (Except it’s harder through the mittens.) Some of the intermediate slopes at Big M almost make me wet my pants just thinking about seeing them on skis. But with the deep snow I figured no one would be making any fast descents. Or ascents.

We started climbing with Ellen in the lead. Pretty soon I took a turn, then Donna, then Marijo, and then we just kept trading off whenever the lead person got too tired. It’s kind of weird plowing through snow up to your knees, but sliding while you do it. The skis were completely invisible down there somewhere. When you were leader the going was tough... and we were climbing, and climbing, and climbing! When you were second it was noticeably easier, and when you were last you were skiing rather than shuffling.

I was the only one who managed to fall down... and I wasn’t even actually skiing. I was standing still trying to get out the camera and, PLOP, suddenly I was lying on my side. Darned ankles.

After we each had three turns at being leader we arrived at the top. And that top is about 100 feet higher than the easy loop. The consensus was that we’d cut out to the ubiquitous “Fire Tower Road,” to ski down. It had been traveled by a snowmobile or two, making it pretty good for the ski down. It wasn’t steep, and I was happy.

groomed trail through pines
freshly groomed trail on Loop 1
When we got back to the main trail, Marijo and Donna who are better skiers quickly disappeared ahead. Ellen stayed with me. But by then the guys had been down that trail with the groomer. It’s the first time I’ve ever been on pristine groomed trail, and we easily glided back to the parking area. Now I know what the fuss is all about. That was really nice!

So we were skiing for just over two hours. But of course when I got home the dog had to have a walk too. So before shedding my layers I switched boots and headed out on the snowshoes for a short walk. Whew... the emphasis is on short. Even with the snowshoes I was sinking 6 to 10 inches with each step. But we did a short loop, with Maggie leaping from tummy hole to tummy hole. She insisted on staying ahead of me rather than following in my tracks where it would have been easier.

Monday... I was a little sore, but who can complain. The snow is really beautiful. And more is coming today.

Oceana Cross Country Ski Association
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Meinert Park May Become Largest Muskegon County Park

Meinert Dunes
dune land that could become Meinert Park
photo from White Lake Beacon
from a news release of The White Lake Beacon, "Grant Awarded to Extend Meinert Park," by Jonah Ogles, Dec 8, 2008

Last week's Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund announcements suggest that Meinert Park in Muskegon County could double in size. If the legislature appropriates the funds, $428,300 will be awarded to the county to acquire 95 acres of dunes, woods and wetlands. The park would then be 184 acres. The new property would most likely be used for new hiking trails.

"We’re very happy," said Dan Dekker, who inherited the land after his father purchased it in 1980. "This is something my dad had talked about for a while."

The grant will cover 75% of the cost of acquiring the land, with a maximum amount of $428,300. The DNR will determine the final purchase price based on fair market value. The remainder of the funds will have to be raised through private donations. Approximately $142,755 will be needed. The landowners are donating at least $10,000 worth of land value to the match. Nearby homeowners associations are also contributing.

"We’re really excited about it," said Rick Steketee of the Lost Valley Association. "We think it’s a great addition. Meinert is just a gem of a park."

The Michigan Land Conservancy will lead the campaign to raise the rest of the funding. However, there are still a lot of steps before this is part of the park, warned the Conservancy. The legislature must approve the grants, the DNR must determine a fair market value for the property, the landowners must agree to the price and the private match must be raised.

Those interested in giving money towards the addition of the Dekker/Rottman property to Meinert Park can make donations either at the Land Conservancy’s website ( or by mail at 1345 Monroe Ave. NW, Suite 324, Grand Rapids, MI 49505. All donations, whether by check or online, should be designated for the Meinert County Park Expansion.

See Meinert Park May Gain 91 Acres
See Michigan Recreation Trust Funds for West Michigan
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Winter Festival Double Whammy in TC

Cherry Winterfest Logo
a news release of Michigan Ski News

Even during an ordinary season, February is a busy time in this northern Michigan resort community of skiers, snowmobilers and snowboarders. But thanks to a rare conjunction of events, the 2009 President's Day weekend (Feb. 13-16) promises to take things to an entirely new level.

For the first time, Traverse City's annual February winter carnival -- the Cherry Capital Winter WonderFest -- coincides with the North American Vasa Festival of Races, which draws hundreds of cross-country skiers and fans to the area each year. Winter WonderFest has grown rapidly in size and scope since its 2007 startup, with more than 50 indoor and outdoor events scheduled between Friday evening and Monday afternoon. And the North American Vasa is a perfect complement to its atmosphere of casual merrymaking.

Now in its 33rd year, the Vasa is a hugely popular event among Midwestern ski racers - thanks largely to the beauty of the course, which snakes through the pines and hardwoods of the Pere Marquette State Forest. The main competition, which features 12K, 27K and 50K races in both freestyle and classic modes, will take place on Saturday, Feb. 14, while its companion event - the Gran Travers Classic (6K and 16K) is scheduled for Sunday. This winter, those skiers and their supporters won't have to look far for opportunities to entertain themselves between races. The Third Annual Cherry Capital Winter WonderFest encompass a rich menu of concerts, competitions, films, fireworks, food tastings and children's activities -- most of them concentrated on the scenic 900-acre grounds of the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, just a snowball's throw from the Vasa racecourse.

"The Winter WonderFest has grown into a community-wide celebration in just a couple of years, and we see it continuing to grow thanks to the multiple venues we've created," said Resort general manager Grant Channing. "They provide variety for the weekend's activities and show a strong commitment from our partners." The centerpiece of the festival is a "Winter Fun Zone" with ice skating, pony rides, inflatable play structures, rides on ponies, dogsleds, snowmobiles and horse-drawn sleighs, sledding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing and a selection of competitive events that range from the familiar (the Running Fit Frosty 5K foot race and a kid's snowshoe race) to the unlikely (a "frozen fish toss" and a "Polar Plunge" event where daring swimmers jump into an icy pond to raise money for charity). There are bonfires, films, live music, fireworks, and lots of festive food and beverages. But the festival has spread to other venues, including the nearby Mt. Holiday Ski Area - where there'll be such offbeat competitions as a snowboarding "rail jam" event, a mountain bike race down the ski hill and a "Cardboard Bobsled-o-Rama" in which competitors must use sleds made only with cardboard, tape and paint.

"How could we not get involved?" asked Mt. Holiday general manager Rick Van Tongeren. "Everybody who's heard about this thing is just extremely excited. I went into the bank the other day and the clerks all came running up asking me how many sleds they could enter."

A full schedule is also in place in Traverse City's charming 19th century downtown shopping district, where there'll be a "Save the Bees" dessert reception (with local honey and live entertainment by Grammy Award winning vocal troupe Sweet Honey in the Rock) in the elegantly-restored City Opera House , ice carving and snow sculpture displays, a "frozen bed race" through the streets and the popular "Soup r' Bowl" competition in which participants slurp up soups created by local chefs and cast ballots for their favorites. "Winter WonderFest truly demonstrates the four-season nature of our destination," said Brad Van Dommelen, president of the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Traverse City is much more than just the great beach town many people think of, and this event is a great way for visitors to be introduced to a different side of our community." A portion of the Winter WonderFest proceeds support the programs of Special Olympics Michigan.

See Winter Wonderfest
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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wolverine Boots & Shoes Resolution Run

from Classic Race Management

Start your New Year off on the right foot on New Year's Eve with the Wolverine Resolution Run. Join in the fun with 1,300 runners and walkers as you celebrate the New Year. This fun and festive event will be one to remember!

The 25th Annual Wolverine Boots & Shoes 4 mile walk or run will be held December 31, 2008 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The event is held at East Grand Rapids High School Gym, 2211 Lake Dr.

Advance registration packets can be obtained at Gazelle Sports and at Rockford Footware Depot on Dec 31. Late registration is possible at the EGR High School from 1:30 till the race begins at 3:30 on Dec 31.

The entry fee is $23, but for an additional $5 you can participate in the Charity Challenge. Each $5 will be matched by Wolverine and donated to the Pediatric Oncology Resource Team, and your entry will be placed in a drawing for the Grand Prize of an airline ticket.

Awards given will be: Overall Male & Female winners, Master Male & Female winners, and 5 deep in each age group. The awards ceremony is in Memory of Jack Edens.

See the registration form
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Dec 19- Great Deal on Ski Lift Ticket at Boyne

a news release of On The Snow

Boyne Mountain has led the way in the Midwest ski industry, and they want to celebrate the anniversary of installing America's first six-seat, high-speed lift in 1992. And they plan to do that by offering skiers six lift tickets for the price of one, on December 19, 2008.

Everett Kircher founded Boyne Mountain, and installed the first chair lift in 1947. He had purchased the "worthless" hillside from a potato farmer for $1. Kircher was committed to getting skiers up hill so that they could ski down. He installed the world's first triple lift in 1964, first quad in 1969, followed by the six-seater.

Boyne Highlands and Mountain have been recognized for many firsts and providing some of the best man-made snow in the states.

See Boyne Resorts Ready for Snow Season
See Boyne
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Friday, December 5, 2008

Pictured Rocks NL Honors Two for Saving Traverse City Man

Tim Colyer and Scott Sherrod
Chief Ranger Tim Colyer presents Scott Sherrod
with an NPS Search and Rescue Award.
a news release of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Two men from downstate Michigan were recognized for their selfless and heroic actions related to a near drowning incident at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore earlier this summer.

Michael Teranes of Grosse Point, Mich., and Scott Sherrod of Gobles, Mich., were recognized with the National Park Service Search and Rescue Award for saving the life of a 52-year old Traverse City man on August 18, 2008. Mr. Brown was swimming in Lake Superior near the shore at the Twelvemile Campground when he was caught in a rip current and pulled 300 yards from shore in a matter of minutes. Lake Superior’s cold water battered him with four to six foot waves and continued to pull him further from shore.

Michael Teranes was camping in Twelvemile Beach Campground and had seen Brown in the water but he was not in distress at that time. Minutes later he heard cries for help coming from Brown’s wife. Teranes ran to the beach, grabbed a small flotation device, and entered the water. At this point, Brown was approximately 150 feet off shore and was struggling to keep his head above water; the current was still pulling Brown further away. Teranes was able to reach the subject very quickly as the rip current helped him to swim quickly away from shore. Returning to shore was much harder, according to witnesses; the rip current now had Brown and his rescuer 300 yards off shore. Teranes knew that to break free from the rip current he could not swim against it. He swam parallel with the shore until he broke the grip of the rip current and then diagonally towards the shore, pulling Brown with him. The waves continued to push Brown and Teranes under the water and pull them apart. Teranes fought the waves, keeping Brown at the surface, and getting him much closer to shore before Teranes felt he too was in imminent danger of drowning.

Tim Colyer and Michael Teranes
Chief Ranger Tim Colyer presents Michael Teranes
with an NPS Search and Rescue Award.
Scott Sherrod, also camping at Twelvemile Beach, learned of the incident when campground host Bill Cochrane asked for strong swimmers as he notified rangers and orchestrated the rescue efforts. Sherrod arrived at the beach as Teranes was leaving the water. Sherrod’s family attempted to prepare an inflatable boat to facilitate the rescue but Sherrod felt there was not enough time to wait for the boat. Sherrod entered the water and was able to bring Brown the rest of the way to shore where other campers had gathered to assist.

Brown was transported to Helen Newberry Joy Hospital by Burt Township Ambulance Corps and was later transferred to Marquette General Hospital. Brown was able to return to the campground several days later and expressed his gratitude for his rescuers and everybody involved in his care.

Michael Teranes and Scott Sherrod placed their own lives in jeopardy to save the life of a man they did not know. Their actions prevented the tragic loss of a life, a father, and a husband.

“There is no doubt that without the heroic actions of Michael Teranes and Scott Sherrod a life would have been lost,” stated Chief Ranger Tim Colyer. “Twelvemile Beach is a very remote area and the rangers responding, while already on the way, could not have made it to the scene in time to save Brown. I would like to thank Michael Teranes and Scott Sherrod on behalf of the National Park Service and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.”

“Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Lake Superior are some of our nation’s most beautiful natural resources,” remarked Jim Northup, superintendent of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. “However, this incident serves as a reminder of just how dangerous Lake Superior can be. We would ask that each of our visitors make safety their number one priority. Safety messages regarding rip currents and other hazards are posted on our bulletin boards, at our visitor centers, and on our website.”

The National Park Service Search and Rescue Award is an award issued locally by Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and the Midwest Region. Teranes and Sherrod are being nominated for the Citizens Bravery Award through the Department of the Interior.

See Pictured Rocks
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Grooming Ski Trails Near Harbor Springs

Josh Baker
Josh Baker of The Outfitter
in Harbor Springs
from Josh Baker's Blog

For about twenty-five years, The Outfitter has groomed the cross country ski trails at Birchwood - a large, wooded subdivision north of Harbor Springs. Our good family friends, owners of The Outfitter for twenty-three years, began the ritual and we continue it. With the same snowmobiles. Grooming trails truly is a labor of love - an exercise that emphasises the reward at the end of the tunnel. The end result is awesome for skiers: pefectly laid-out tracks that ribbon around through the trees over a golf course and through the woods. One of the fascinating aspects of the grooming is the lack of residue left from the process. If you ski the trail right after the machines have puttered by, you smell the fumes of exhaust. If you wait 30 minutes, you have corduroy and cold, crisp air. And the craters... more
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Michigan Recreation Trust Funds for West Michigan

from the Michigan DNR

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) Board of Trustees on Wednesday recommended to Governor Jennifer M. Granholm that 81 recreation projects and land acquisitions totaling $48.5 million be funded for 2008. The board had considered 159 applications for projects and acquisitions totaling $83.5 million, which were competitively evaluated based on scoring criteria developed by the board.

This is the largest amount the MNRTF board has recommended for grants in the history of the program.

The next step is for Governor Granholm to forward the recommendations to the Legislature for appropriation of the funds from the MNRTF. Typically, this part of the process is completed by the end of the summer following the board's recommendations.

Projects in west Michigan that are on this year's list include:
  • City of East Grand Rapids, Reeds Lake Waterfront Park, $490,000. This project includes accessible trails, lake viewing areas, fishing piers, floating boardwalks along 2,225 feet of Reeds Lake, along with parking, historical and environmental interpretation, and habitat protection.
  • Bear Creek Township (Emmet County), Jones Landing Park, $487,600. This project includes a boat launch area, roads, parking lot, restroom building, pavilion, viewing deck and beach area.
  • City of Wyoming, Oriole Park Site Development, $378,900. This project will redevelop the 12.9 acre Oriole Park to include parking and access improvements, a walking trail, new basketball and tennis courts, children’s playground and splash pad, shade structure, oak habitat and landscaping and interpretative signage.
  • DNR, State Park Infrastructure Repairs, $350,000. This project will renovate and repair obsolete and deteriorated infrastructure at various state parks statewide.
  • City of Grand Haven, East Grand River Park Improvements, $300,000. This project includes a barrier-free boardwalk with fishing piers along the Grand River, a playground and gazebo.
  • City of Portland, Portland Trail Connector Loop, $284,800. This project will develop 3,000 feet of 10-foot wide asphalt trail which would connect two existing trails and complete a loop around the city.
  • City of Greenville, Baldwin Lake Beach Improvements, $277,900. This project will incorporate the Fred Meijer Flat River Trail with the Baldwin Lake Beach and provide improvements to the beach facility and parking lot.
  • Newaygo County, Sandy Beach Park Improvement, $267,500. The project will include improvements to Sandy Beach Park on Hardy Pond that include paving the entrance and interior road, upgrading 22 campsites to full electrical hookups, add two camping cabins, a courtesy ramp at the boat launch and a day-use picnic shelter with walkway.
  • DNR, Inland Fishing Piers in State Parks and Recreation Areas, $250,000. This project will include expanding recreational fishing access to inland lakes by constructing fishing piers at Bald Mountain, Ionia, Rifle River, Waterloo and Yankee Springs state recreation areas.
  • DNR, Building Demolition Initiative, $250,000. This project will demolish abandoned, vacant and surplus buildings on DNR properties statewide to reclaim the sites for recreational and resource protection uses.
  • Barry County, McKeown Bridge Park Development, $215,300. This project includes fishing/overlook decks, wetland boardwalks, paved walkways, a canoe launch, parking improvements, picnic and restroom facilities and natural plantings.
  • City of Niles, Riverfront and Plym Park Trail Development, $170,500. This project will include development of a 1.79 mile extension of an existing trail within Riverfront Park northward to Plym Park and southward to the city limits.
  • City of Ludington, Streams Park Breakwall Improvements, $125,300. This project will build an accessible pathway over a new breakwall on Lake Michigan.
  • Acme Township (Grand Traverse County), Acme Waterfront Park Acquisition, $3,006,200. This three-phase acquisition involves the purchase of 11.5 acres and 2,000 feet of lake frontage as an addition to Bayside Park, along the east arm of Grand Traverse Bay. Recreational opportunities will include fishing, wildlife viewing, picnicking and swimming.
  • Cascade Township (Kent County), Cascade Natural Park Acquisition, $1.2 million. This project will acquire 197 acres of undeveloped land with an unnamed tributary to the Grand River, mature beech and maple forest, and open field and grassland areas. The property contains habitat for the Eastern Box Turtle, a species of special concern in Michigan.
  • Village of Elberta, South Elberta Dunes Natural Area Acquisition, $1,158,800. This project will acquire 58 acres with critical dunes and 1,425 feet of Lake Michigan frontage to be used for hiking, surf-fishing, wildlife viewing and cross-country skiing.
  • DNR, Mitchell Creek Land Acquisition, $1 million. This project will acquire 28.79 acres of land adjacent to Traverse City State Park and provide recreation and fishing access to Mitchell Creek.
  • DNR, Northern Lower Peninsula Eco-Regional Land Consolidation, $1 million. This project will acquire various parcels within the northern lower eco-region of the state that will improve DNR ownership by eliminating in-holdings within state project areas.
  • DNR, Grand River Edges Rail-Trail Acquisition, $850,000. This project would acquire .85 miles of inactive railroad corridor along the Grand River in the City of Grand Rapids, which will connect the city to the State Trail Network and over 200 miles of state rail-trail.
  • Emmet County, Emmet County/Maple River Acquisition, $675,000. This project will acquire 128 acres and approximately 4,500 feet of undeveloped river frontage along the West Branch of the Maple River.
  • Casco Township (Allegan County), Casco Township Nature Preserve Phase II, $668,800. This project will acquire 8.62 acres of property for the township’s nature preserve.
  • DNR, Manistee River Deeryard and Bog, $600,000. This project will acquire 280 acres of land in Wexford County surrounded by the Pere Marquette State Forest, including 1,000 feet of Manistee River frontage and 1,000 feet of frontage on a tributary of Fife Lake Creek and a 90-acre bog complex.
  • DNR, Southwest Lower Peninsula Eco-Regional Consolidation, $500,000. This project will acquire various properties within the southwest eco-region of the state to improve DNR ownership by eliminating in-holdings within state project areas.
  • DNR, Mitchell State Park Bear Marsh Acquisition, $500,000. This project will acquire 293 acres of wetlands/upland wild area that adjoins the north edge of Mitchell State Park in Wexford County.
  • Almira Township (Benzie County), Ann Lakefront Park Acquisition, $478,100. This project will acquire 1.65 acres of property, including 175 feet of frontage on Ann Lake for a public park and swimming beach.
  • Muskegon County, Meinert County Park Property Acquisition, $428,300. This project will acquire 95.17 acres of critical dunes, woodlands, wetlands and small inland ponds near Lake Michigan and adjacent to Meinert County Park.
  • City of Dowagiac, Youth Sports Park Acquisition, $100,000. This project will acquire 17.83 acres, including five existing baseball fields, ADA restrooms/concessions/parking area for use as an active sports field complex.
  • Silver Creek Township (Cass County), Silver Creek Area Youth Sports Park, $100,000. This project will acquire 18 acres for development of youth soccer and football facilities, a picnic pavilion, roadway and parking, and a Sister Lakes to Dowagiac bike path.
  • City of Petoskey, Skyline Trail Acquisition, $99,000. This project will acquire 65 acres of land to link together over 800 acres of city and State of Michigan lands to provide a route for a new trail section of the national North Country Trail.
  • City of Kentwood, North Stanaback Park Acquisition, $85,000. This project will acquire 17.3 acres of natural, wooded and preserved area with ravines adjacent to Stanaback Park.
  • St. Joseph County, Cade Lake County Park Expansion, $79,500. This project will purchase 40 acres with 250 feet of frontage on Cade Lake containing woodlands and wetlands contiguous to the existing 52-acre county park for natural resources-based recreation.
  • City of Bangor, Veterans Park and Kiwanis Park Additions, $37,800. This project will acquire 4.3 acres to add a trail connecting Veterans Park and Kiwanis Park, and providing scenic viewing opportunities.

See the complete list of 2008 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board Recommendations
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