Friday, November 30, 2007

State Forest Pathway Grooming Takes DNR Budget Hit

The Department of Natural Resources said today it will work on existing agreements and contracts for trail grooming for cross-country skiing this winter, but will not enter into any new volunteer agreements during the current fiscal year. Also, 16 additional pathways that the DNR maintained in the past will not be groomed this winter. These decisions highlight the impact of a General Fund reduction of $423,200 to the Forest Recreation Program in the Fiscal Year 2008 budget.

"As the snow begins to fall, we have immediate concerns related to groomed cross-country ski trails," said DNR Director Rebecca Humphries. "Many of these trails are important to recreation activities that help the local economy and they are very popular destinations. However, given the General Fund reduction, we cannot continue with business as usual."

Pathways in and near the area covered by this web site include: Muncie Lakes in Grand Traverse County and Pine Valley in Lake County

"We have many other forest recreation responsibilities that will be impacted by the General Fund reduction of $423,200," said Jim Radabaugh, DNR statewide trails coordinator. "We are currently reviewing what reductions will be necessary, including the potential for additional campground closures in the state forest campgrounds program for Fiscal Year 2008."

State forest pathways provide non-motorized trail activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing. The pathways are not a part of state parks. There are more than 550 miles of pathways in state forests, of which 242 miles were groomed for cross-country skiing.

For the full list of affected pathways, see link below.

from a news release of the Michigan DNR, Nov 29, 2007, with added comments
Link are checked on the date of the article, as articles age, some links may become invalid.

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See Skiing for more about Skiing
See Snowshoeing for more about Snowshoeing

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Osteoporosis- Not Just About Grandma

How too little exercise, sunshine and milk are hurting today's kids

Children today are breaking bones more than often than they did 40 years ago. Lots more. Girls have 56% more fractured arms, and the boys have 32% more. So, girls are playing more sports, you say, and boys take greater risks- such as skateboarding. But Dr. Heidi Kalkwarf of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital has determined that these kids have lower bone densities than kids who don't break bones.

With modern techniques, the medical community is learning what normal bone densities for kids should be. And most kids don't measure up.

Otherwise healthy children are not building as much strong bone as they should. The combination of calcium, Vitamin D, and exercise is required to build bone. And kids today are not getting enough of any of the three.

No one is sure yet what level of bone density in children could lead to great risk for osteoporosis later. But it is known that almost half of peak bone mass develops during the teen years. It is possible that a 10% deficit in bone mass as an adolescent could lead to a 50% greater risk of fractures after age 30. At about that age bone tissue naturally breaks down faster than it is rebuilt.

What do kids need?
Mom's advice to "Drink your milk" is still good. Young children need 800 mg daily, and between ages 9 and 18 kids need 1300 mg daily. Milk, cheese, yogurt, broccoli, and calcium fortified foods are good sources.

Vitamin D:
The body cannot process calcium without Vitamin D. Some milk and other foods are fortified with it, but the primary source is sunshine! Playing outside really is good for our children (and us too). The darker your skin, the longer exposure you require. Some children can process calcium on as little as 15 minutes of sunlight a week; this should be taken as an absolute minimum.

An hour a day of physical exercise should be the norm. Weight-bearing exercise builds strong bones. This can be anything from playing organized sports to jumping rope, or running around. Get those kids away from the video games for some part of the day.

Retro Evidence
A Canadian study has reported that postmenopausal women who exercised when they were teens still have 8% stronger bones than women who led quieter lives as adolescents.

Rickets on the Rise
The worst bone deficiency is known as Rickets. This disease was a scourge of the 19th century. Bones become so soft that the legs bow. Inner city children are especially at risk because they often do not have safe places outside to play. Children are now being diagnosed with this disease every month.

Surrounded by the resources to provide good health to our children, we may be sending them to old age with weaker bones than those of our grandparents.

read the AP News Article, by Lauran Neergaard
These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

Go To for all the news
See Kids and Outdoors

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pere Marquette River Management Plan - Big Changes

Indian Bridge
Indian Bridge
The new Pere Marquette River Management Plan would bring big changes to local recreation spots along the river. Comments on the plan will be accepted through December 10.

Huron Manistee National Forest Supervisor, LeAnne Martin says that the new plan attempts to preserve a balance between the needs of recreation users, and protecting the river resources. The plan, if adopted as is close access to the river from federal land from midnight to 4 am. It would also impact the following locations, alphabetically:

  • 40th St:
    expanded facilites

  • Bowman Bridge:
    parking plowed in winter

  • Elk Campsite:
    restroom facilities improved

  • Logmark Campsite:
    restroom facilities improved

  • Gleason's Landing:
    a back-down boat launch will be added
    boat slide removed
    parking expanded including Jorgenson's
    parking plowed in winter

  • Green Cottage
    parking plowed in winter

  • Indian Bridge:
    bridge modified to accomdate drift boats

  • Lower Branch Bridge:
    10 parking spaces built

  • M-37 Bridge:
    parking plowed in winter in Forest Service takes over management

  • Maple Leaf Campsite:
    restroom facilities improved
    parking expanded
    parking plowed in winter

  • Rainbow Rapids:
    parking plowed in winter

  • Sulak Landing:
    parking plowed in winter in Forest Service takes over management

  • Upper Branch Bridge:
    parking plowed in winter

  • Walhalla Bridge:
    parking plowed in winter in Forest Service takes over management

    The biggest changes could come to Indian Bridge. When the bridge was rebuilt three years ago, the deck remained at the same elevation, but a different substructure now hinders passage of boats except for canoes or kayaks. The county estimates that to raise the bridge could cost as much as $200,000.

    Changes would come as well to the watercraft permit system. All watercraft would be required to have a permit from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day. Weekends from Labor Day through October 31 would also be under the permit system.

    Riparian permits will be recalled and reissued with each tax parcel receiving one permit.

    from the Ludington Daily News, Nov 23, 2007
    See Pere Marquette River Plan, Huron Manistee National Forest
    Email comments to Les Russell or call 231-745-4631.
    These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

    Go To for all the news
    See Pere Marquette River
  • Friday, November 9, 2007

    West Michigan Mycological Society Disbands

    The West Michigan Mycological Society was founded in 1982, and for 25 years the group studied the mushrooms and fungi of the region. Obe Shrader was chief mycologist for 20 of those years. It was, at one time, the largest and most active mushroom club in Michigan.

    Shrader died in 2003, and a series of presidents followed. However, several people left the area, and the club was unable to find a new leader.

    A committee was formed to determine how to disband. Remaining funds were used to buy books on mycology which were donated to the Mason County Library, West Shore Community College, Mason-Lake Conservation District, and the local Michigan State University Extension.

    All of the society records were placed in a fire-proof cabinet and donated to White Pine Village.

    Memorable names from the role of the club include Stan Schilling, Ron Wilson, Don Martz, Roger Thurow, Monica Mae Paukstis, Gene Campbell, Glenna Paukstis, Nancy Rossi, and Pat Willick.

    from the Ludington Daily News, Nov 9, 2007

    Go To for all the news
    See Get Off The Couch

    Thursday, November 8, 2007

    Manistee Women Receives National North Country Trail Award

    Deb Krieger
    Deb Krieger

    At the Annual Conference each year, the North Country Trail Association presents awards to its outstanding volunteers. This year's "Sweep" Award was presented to Deb Krieger of the Spirit of the Woods Chapter (Manistee, Mason and Lake Counties) or the North Country Trail Association.

    The award is given annually to a volunteer, for tireless work and achievements behind the scenes on behalf of the North Country Trail or the NCTA. The name comes from the title "sweep" usually given to the person assigned to be last on a hike who should walk with the slowest hiker, pick up any dropped trash, make sure no one is left behind, and generally act in a selfless manner when they might prefer to be hiking in front with the faster segment of the group.

    These criteria fit Krieger to a "T." Deb has been a consistent, but mostly behind-the-scenes powerhouse for the Spirit of the Woods Chapter since she (and husband Rich) joined in 2002.

    Deb continuously protests that she doesn't want to do things that put any public focus on her, yet she manages to accomplish great things for the chapter. And she's never afraid of a challenge she can take on in private. She edited their newsletter for several years, working hard to improve her computer skills to produce it. She put together a "camp kitchen" of gear and supplies to bring hot drinks and snacks to work days. She always makes sure these amenities are available at chapter meetings.

    She may not be comfortable addressing a large group, but in her quiet way she has probably brought more participants into the chapter than anyone else. Deb's networking skills are great... she will hook someone from Audubon up with someone from the chapter who is working with someone else from the Forest Service, and oh yes! There's this friend who's also working on a community theatre production who knows how to do just what we need to complete the job!

    She quietly arranged for someone for our chapter to lead hikes for the Forest Festival, Manistee Women's Festival, and for the local Visitor's Bureau. She was actually the one who led quite a few of these hikes, too!

    The year that she was in charge of publicity for National Trails Day the event had its largest turnout ever, 125 people!

    She also inventoried the chapter library, and makes sure that it contains copies of all our meeting minutes.

    She's a member of the informal "blazing team," one of those who is willing to go out and take the time to paint impeccable 2x6 inch rectangles on trees.

    She may not like to be in the spotlight, but the Spirit of the Woods Chapter of the NCTA would certainly be a dimmer light in the hiking world without Deb Krieger.

    by Joan H. Young
    See Spirit of the Woods Chapter of the North Country Trail Association
    These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

    Go To for all the news
    See North Country Trail

    Tuesday, November 6, 2007

    Michigan Great Outdoors - Marketing West Michigan

    Representatives from Mason, Lake, Manistee, Oceana, and Newaygo Counties band together to draw tourists

    Travel Michigan's public relations director, Dave Lorenz, delivered the keynote address to the Michigan Great Outdoors group, November 5, 2007. He commended the counties on uniting their efforts to attract visitors to the region.

    Lorenz noted that since Sept. 11, 2001, Americans have cut back on travel, but regional trips are still popular. $10 billion of Michigan's tourist dollars come from residents traveling within the state. Slightly less, $8.7 billion, comes from those who travel here from other states.

    Hospitality is key to success. People want to be informed about what else is available in the nearby area. And more travelers are requesting earth-friendly places. They are asking for hotels and resorts that are green-certified.

    When asked the purpose of their trip, 9.4% said they were going to a beach or waterfront, and 8.7% said they were visiting parks. Hunting and fishing tallied 10.2%.

    Lorenz encouraged Michigan to promote the "Pure Michigan" campaign to the point where is becomes as recognizable as the I (heart) NY logo.

    from the Ludington Daily News
    These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

    Go To for all the news
    See Get Off The Couch for recreation info in these counties

    Monday, November 5, 2007

    John Gurney Park - Changes in Store?

    A park renovation plan has been presented to the Hart City Council for John Gurney Park. The park currently has 90 rustic campsites, but the council would like to see the park become more user friendly for local residents.

    The plan also included reducing the number of sites by as much as half, adding water and sewer hookups, and paved parking.

    Amenities which would be enjoyed by all park users include four baseball fields, a pavilion overlooking Hart Lake, and a community bonfire pit.
    The campground currently nets approximately $40,000 annually for the city, and councilwoman Betty Root opposed reducing the number of campsites. City Manager Stan Rickard suggested that a committee meet with the consultants to further assess the plan.

    from an article in the Ludington Daily News, Nov 5, 2007
    Go To for all the news
    See Oceana County Map for more about Oceana County
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