Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sites Added to

Gales' Pond map
Gale's Pond

by jhy

Recently four additional locations for quiet outdoor recreation have been added to the main Get Off The Couch website.

Get Off The Couch was developed to give people detailed information on places to go for quiet sport and enjoyment in Mason, Manistee, Oceana and Lake Counties in Michigan. Since it generates very little income (many businesses which offer services for low-impact recreation have not yet appreciated the value of the internet), the site grows slowly.

Yet, it is still my dream to offer complete information, and to keep it updated.

In Oceana County, Gale's Pond is found just east of Hart. This is a little-known gem, with a lot of high-quality plant material around the small pond. A half-mile trail encircles the water. There is a small picnic area.

The hiking opportunity can be extended by walking around the corner on a dirt road and adding the 3/8 mile of trail in Doolittle Memorial Forest.

The two additional locations are in Manistee County.

For a great scenic view, one of the best in the Lower Peninsula, stop off at the Arcadia Bluffs overlook on the Manistee/Benzie County line off M-22. There is an observation platform to climb (plus a fully accessible level with good views too), and a telescopic viewer in the summer.

Magoon Creek map
Magoon Creek
Another wonderful area, with a number of ecosystems, hiking, swimming, and picnic opportunities is Magoon Creek. Located just south of Manistee, there are 1.5 miles of trail and over 40 interpreted locations.

All information is free of charge, and based on personal visits to the sites. The date of my last visit is always shown on the page, giving a user some idea of how accurate it may be.

If you have a product or service related to quiet recreation, and would like to advertise, there are many levels of commitment available. In addition, non-profit organizations with similar interests can advertise for a minimum of $10 per year.

Feel free to look the site over, and contact me at

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

Monday, February 27, 2012

Quiet Water Symposium 2012

quiet waters symposium

from Quiet Water Symposium

Each year, on the first Saturday of March, the Quiet Waters Symposium is held in conjunction with the Michigan State University's Agriculture and Natural Resources Week. The location is the MSU Campus, in the Pavilion for Livestock and Agriculture Education, 4301 Farm Lane Rd, East Lansing, MI.

The Quiet Water Symposium celebrates non-motorized outdoor recreation and a shared concern for our Great Lakes Environment.

At the Symposium visitors will find presentations by world famous authors, photographers, and expedition travelers. Other presentations may cover skills, safety, local and distant destinations. There may be presentations on bicycling, sailing, diving, and history.

This year's main speakers are Cliff Jacobson- "Canoeing the Boundary Waters in Style," Kevin Callan- "How to be a Happy Camper," and "The Best Canoe Routes in Ontario," and Gary & Joanie McGuffin- "Journey into the Heart of the Boreal."

Many other workshops, seminars and demonstrations will also be running throughout. Topics include outfitting, taking a dog camping, boat building, and travel programs from other outdoor adventures.

wooden kayak
In 2011, over 1400 people enjoyed the day. It's a great deal for only $10, a little gas and lunch money.

Date: Saturday, March 3, 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Admission: Adults $10.00 Students (with ID) $5.00 - under 12 Free

See Quiet Water Symposium
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

Hammock Campers Rendevouz at Ludington State Park

alt text
camper Vince poses by his hammock (photo by jhy)

by JHY

Twenty hardy fellows converged on Ludington State Park this weekend for a weekend of camping, hiking, and fun. They are all members of, a meeting place for people who want to discuss all things related to sleeping in hammocks.

These are not your summer string hammocks, hung semi-permanently near a cabin. These hammocks are medium to high tech creations made for easy hanging, packing, and carrying. What's high-tech about a hammock you ask? The fabric (waterproof, breatheable, lightweight), the pattern (stability, comfort, ease of entrance and exit), the accessories (hanging straps, zippers, cords, quilts).

In fact, discussing and looking at the merits of each other's gear is one of the popular activities at such outings. And this activity is not limited to the hammocks. Two men wore traditional wool coat-shirts they had made, and another demonstrated a handmade laser-cut, collapsible wood-burning backpacker stove.

About twice a year there is a regional campout. These happen somewhat spontaneously as a result of conversations on the forum. There's no official restriction on who can attend. One camper this weekend was from Indiana, and another from Chicago.

campfire coffee
campfire breakfast (photo by jhy)
Eggs and sausages were hot and waiting for me when I arrived. Some guys were getting ready to explore the park trails. I sampled a dense and delicious pemmican bread baked and brought by one of the men.

Women are welcome to participate, and there are usually a few, but this particular weekend none were in attendance.

A couple of the participants even had tents, and were not being run out of the group on a rail. If you are looking for a group that likes to get out regularly, the folks at hammockforums are eager to welcome you.

(A longer article should appear in the Outdoor section of the Ludington Daily News on March 3.)

See Hammock Forum
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

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wireless Bicycle Brakes? Yup

wireless bicycle brake
Holger Hermanns, computer science professor at Saarland University, confirmed the reliability of his wireless bicycle brake through mathematical calculations. (photo by Angelika Klein)

from Saarland University

Seems a little silly right? To replace a simple cable with electronics which can fail just as easily?

Although the wireless braking system has been created for a bicycle, the idea is to apply the technology to much larger systems, such as trains and airplanes. Professor Holger Hermanns of Saarland University, Homberg, Germany, has developed the technology, and has chosen a safer transportation method, bicycles, to test his prototypes.

On a bicycle, to brake with the wireless brake, a cyclist needs only clench the rubber grip on the right handle. The more tightly the grip is clenched, the harder the disk brake on the front wheel works. It seems as if a ghost hand is in play, but a combination of several electronic components enables the braking. Integrated in the rubber grip is a pressure sensor, which activates a sender if a specified pressure threshold is crossed. The sender is integrated in a blue plastic box which is the size of a cigarette packet and is attached to the handlebar. Its radio signals are sent to a receiver attached at the end of the bicycle's fork. The receiver forwards the signal to an actuator, transforming the radio signal into the mechanical power by which the disk brake is activated. The electrical energy is supplied by a battery, which is also attached to the bicycle's fork. To enhance reliability, there are additional senders attached to the bicycle. These repeatedly send the same signal.

Its current configuration enables the cruiser bike to brake within 250 milliseconds. This means that at a speed of 30 kilometers per hour, the cyclist has to react two meters before reaching the dangerous situation. But the Saarland University computer scientists are not satisfied with just this functionality. "It is not difficult to integrate an anti-lock braking system and traction control. That takes only a few adjustments," Hermanns explains.

So, you probably shouldn't look for this at your local bike shop, but it's an interesting concept.

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

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Missauke County Dogs Die of Blastomycosis

x-ray of dog lungs with blastomycosis
Chest X-ray from a dog with blastomycosis, (Photo from Univ. of Georgia Dept. of Anatomy and Radiology)

compiled from several sources

Two Missauke County dogs have died from the fungal infection Blastomycosis. The fungus is inhaled as dogs walk through forest litter. The organism responsible is a fungus Blastomyces dermatitidis.

Dogs and humans seem to be most susceptible, but cats and horses may also become infected. Since it depends upon exposure to the fungus, it is found only where the fungus grows. Cases are most often reported in the valleys of the major US rivers, the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio. It has also been documented in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba.

The fungus requires wet, sandy, acidic soils rich in organic matter and in close proximity to water. Sadly, West Michigan sounds like a perfect location.

Large dog breeds, and most often males, are most likely to become infected. No reason for this disparity has been determined, although it may be simply due to the likelihood of those dogs roaming more.

Once a dog is infected, symptoms are diffuse, and only specific tests can determine if the problem is Blastomycosis. Watch for coughing, difficulty breathing, depression, skin lesions (like large pimples), and eye irritation. An exact diagnosis can only be made by a veterinarian who is looking for this specific problem. Since it is rare in Michigan, vets may not be looking for it.

The treatment is usually large doses of Amphotericin B, which almost always causes some degree of kidney failure. An alternative is Itraconazole, also effective and safer, but more expensive.

Blastomycosis is a serious disease, and its appearance in Michigan, near Lake City, is not good news.

See Veterinary Clinical Pathology
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

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Historic Pavilion at Onaway SP Burns

Onaway State Park Fire
pavilion after the fire(photo from 9&10 News)

from TV 9&10 and other sources

A fire yesterday at Onaway State Park, in Presque Isle County, burned so thoroughly that it may never be determined what caused the blaze. The 90-year-old structure was part of an historic district within the park.

The pavilion had been rented and used on Saturday, but connecting the fire definitively with that event is unlikely. The structure had burned to the ground before firefighters could reach the scene.

Onaway State Park pavilion
pavilion section (photo from the Presque Isle County Advance)
Onaway State Park was created when the land was donated to the State of Michigan in 1920. It had previously been a county park named Indian Orchard. Native Americans, travelers and settlers throughout history used the area heavily. The park sits on a huge limestone shelf and development of the park was an engineering feat.

It has not been determined what will be done about the loss, but the park manager states that the public will have input.

See Onaway State Park
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

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rockport Becomes Michigan's Newest State Park

alt text
The old deep water dock at Rockport State Park in Michigan (photo by quiet solo pursuits)

a news release of Michigan DNR

State recreation officials announced that the "Rockport Property," previously managed as part of the state forest system, was transferred to the Parks and Recreation Division to become the newest state park in Michigan.

Rockport State Park offers many unique and special features. With 4,237 acres of land located on the shores of Lake Huron, north of Alpena, the property includes a deep-water protected harbor, an old limestone quarry of approximately 300 acres, a unique series of sinkholes, a dedicated Natural Area (Besser Natural Area), and a broad range of land types, vegetative cover, cultural resources and recreation opportunities. At the harbor, the Department has a boat launch facility, and there is a small park developed by Alpena Township on land leased from the State.

Future actions regarding Rockport State Park will be guided by the management plans for the park and with ongoing input from the NRTH Advisory Committee, which is currently engaged in forming a "Friends Group" for this park. Administration of the park will be handled by Harrisville State Park, and questions regarding its management can be directed to 989-724-5126.

See Quiet Solo Pursuits for more pictures
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

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Manistee Boy Scout Troop 167 Camps Out (A Lot!)

boys walking in woods
scouts explore off trail (photo by jhy)

by jhy

"How many campouts have you been on?" I asked 12-year-old Tyler.

"Fifteen," he answered casually. Clearly a seasoned veteran of the outdoors. His buddy, Blake, has only been on three, but he only joined Manistee's Boy Scout Troop 167 this past year.

I was quickly informed that the troop camps out once a month. In an era when even Boy Scouts often spend a lot of time on skills that are suited for the digital age, I was heartened to find a group that embraces the outdoor pursuits which are at the root of the Scouting movement.

With special permission from the Manistee National Forest, the group is allowed to camp at the Big M Ski Area each winter. (Camping is not generally allowed on the property). Since this wasn't a "Polar Bear" campout, the boys and their leaders were using the warming shelter. The wood stove had heated the building nicely, and when I arrived some scouts were cooking or eating breakfast, and others were rolling up their sleeping bags.

Some of the scouts would be completing requirements for their Camping merit badge, and others would make progress on the Wilderness Survival badge. I wondered if the survival skills required were really basic ones, and was told that some of the requirements are: to demonstrate three ways to start fire without matches, to be able to build an emergency shelter with little or no environmental impact, and to understand things like weather, signalling, and making decisions based on life-preserving priorities. Sounds like good stuff to me!

I also spoke with the oldest boy in the troop, 17-year-old Brian. He's a Life Scout, working toward Eagle. His project included collecting over a ton of food for the Salvation Army, and the troop is sorting and boxing it.

Expecting to hear that he'd been a member since Cub Scouts, it was interesting to learn that he joined at the Webelos level- for 10-year-olds. He just thought it would be something fun to do. Brian said that Scouting introduced him to what the outdoors has to offer. He'll be attending Michigan Tech next year with studies in Environmental Science and Plant Biotechnology. He credits Scouting for developing his interest in the natural world. He's also a member of the Order of the Arrow.

boys playing bananagrams
playing Bananagrams (photo by jhy)
After breakfast, some boys headed outside, while others enjoyed the warm shelter and played games or visited. The troop has 24 members, of which eight boys came on this campout. Usually, the participation is 14-16 members.

I came away encouraged to see young people comfortable in the outdoors, even in winter.

Led by Scoutmaster Klaus Kutschke, this active troop is looking for area girls who are interested in Adventure Scouting. At this level both boys and girls can participate.

See Polar Bears in Manistee
See BSA Troop 167
Contact Klaus at 723-7766

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

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Recycle Boat Shrink-Wrap

alt text
winter boat storage (photo from Sea Grant)

a news release of Michigan Sea Grant

This program provides boaters and marina operators with a cost-effective, environmentally friendly option for disposal of shrink-wrap.

Shrink-wrap (Low-Density Polyethylene or LDPE) is commonly used for protecting recreational boats from snow, ice, water and debris when stored outside during the winter. In the shrink-wrapping process, plastic is draped over the boat, secured by strapping and heated to provide a rigid plastic surface, thereby providing a protective covering strong enough to hold the weight of snow and ice and protecting the boat from the elements. In the spring, shrink-wrap is removed and often ends up in landfills.

Proper preparation and storage of shrink-wrap is key to preventing problems with recycling machinery that shreds the plastic.
  • Step one: Remove strapping, lumber, nails, zippers and vents before packaging shrink-wrap for recycling. The doors and vents may be reusable next year.
  • Step two: Keep the shrink-wrap as clean as possible, free from gravel and sand.
  • Step three: Roll or bag the shrink-wrap, depending on your local program’s requirements.

Bay Area Recycling for Charities and Dr. Shrink, Inc. have partnered to assist businesses in the Lower Peninsula in recycling shrink-wrap by creating an annual recycling run. Participants may enroll in the program by completing a Michigan Recycling Run 2011 form.

Many counties in Michigan provide shrink-wrap recycling services. Contact your county’s waste management program to see if a program is available. Emmet and Washtenau Counties are known to take this product.

See Shrink Wrap Recycling Video
See Enrollment Form
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

Friday, February 17, 2012

Izaak Walton League Works for Asian Carp Control

asian carp
Asian Carp

from the Izaak Walton League

Our fellow Ike’s, on the Great Lakes Committee, have a tremendous problem with Asian Carp working their way up the Mississippi River. Below is a message from Jill Crafton, chairperson of the Great Lakes Committee, bringing the other members of
the GLC up to date on some of their action. This is a preview of what we would have if the carp get established in the Great Lakes.

"Dave Zentner and I have been participating in a coalition to stop Asian Carp from moving further up the Mississippi River and into the Minnesota and St. Croix Rivers. We have been working since April via conference calls and various meetings with DNR, Governor, and/or Corps (John Goss showed for that one hosted at DNR) to push for action. There was representation from a Task Force of scientists, USFW, USGS, and MN DNR.

“The latter developed a comprehensive strategy that includes sampling and
monitoring for eDNA at various points in the river, discussing triggers for positive eDNA hits (lock and dam closure is the only sure solution) etc. The Governor has held a couple of Summits on Asian Carp and is demanding action. One Congressional leader is drafting legislation that would help resolve barriers to Corps ACTING to close a lock and dam.

"Our new Mississippi River staffer working under Brad Redlin is supporting us
and is amazing in the experience and gumption she brings to the table. The Non-profit contingent of our MN AIS Coalition has engaged the media on a couple occasions which culminated in a media press event to call for action. Since the locks are closing for the winter, the task was for a modified lock closure plan to be
ready before opening the locks in the spring.

"Zentner, and others from Friends of Mississippi, MN Responsible
Property Owners (fighting AIS in MN lakes), and MN Conservation Federation made statements and fielded questions on the need for action, the urgency for solutions, impact on navigation and effectiveness of barriers. Zentner was awesome in keeping the focus on the need for urgency and action."

Contact Jill Crafton

Go To for all the news
See Get Off The Couch

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Michigan Flora Author Ed Voss Dies

alt text
Ed Voss

by JHY with info from the Huron Valley Chapter of the Michigan Botanical Club and other sources

Ed Voss, the man who wrote the three-volume Michigan Flora, has died of a stroke. Nature lovers have lost one of the great minds of the era.

Voss spent his career at the University of Michigan. His undergraduate degree was earned in biology from Denison in 1950, and then proceeded to the University of Michigan where he obtained his masters one year later, and then his Ph.D in botany in 1954. In 1956 he joined the U of M staff and remained there. He formally retired in 1996, but continued with the University Herbarium, and had been focusing on the changing world of botanical nomenclature.

Ed was a stickler for accuracy, and one of the joys of my personal life as an amateur botanist was to show him some pictures of rare plants that he enjoyed seeing. Impressing Ed was not an easy task.

I've included links to two other tributes to Ed Voss

See Ohio Birds and Biodiversity
See Damn Arbor
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

Monday, February 13, 2012

36th Annual VASA Ski Races Successful

ski racers
photo from

compiled from several sources

Despite warm temperatures, and low snowfall the VASA Ski Races, held near Traverse City, were successfully held this past weekend. This was not accomplished without great effort. With snowfall this year at half the normal amount, snow was trucked in to create a base for grooming the double tracked trail.

The VASA event, held this past weekend, always includes races for serious competitors, those who just want a fun experience, and also family and kid-friendly events. Distances range from the 50k Freestyle National Masters, down to a half kilometer event for kids under 5 years of age.

Thousands of people from around the country, even the world, travel each year to this event, bringing an economic boost to the area.

See a list of the 2012 VASA race winners.

Go To for all the news
See Get Off The Couch

Sunday, February 12, 2012

West Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Grants

Bay Harbor Park
Bay Harbor Park in Petosky which has benefited from the Natural Resources Trust Fund

a news release of the Michigan DNR

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) has been in place since 1976. It provides financial assistance to local governments and the Department of Natural Resources(DNR) to purchase land or rights in land for public recreation or protection of land because of its environmental importance or its scenic beauty. It also assists in the appropriate development of land for public outdoor recreation.

West Michigan Grants awarded December 2011 include:
  • Belvidere Township (Montcalm County) is recommended to receive $59,000 to develop a fishing pier and parking lot on First Lake at Belvidere Township Park
  • City of Buchanan (Berrien County) is recommended to receive $288,000 to develop a linear urban trail from St. Joseph River on the east end of the city to the natural prairie on the west end of the city.
  • Charlevoix County is recommended to receive $300,000 to construct a 10-foot wide non-motorized recreational trail from Boyne City to the Evangeline/Bay Township line.
  • Coldsprings Township (Kalkaska County) is recommended to receive $47,000 to develop Sands Park, including an accessible picnic shelter, restrooms, trails to the beach and parking area, lighting, beach improvements, grading, a maintenance shed and nature trail grading.
  • Comstock Township (Kalamazoo County) is recommended to receive $300,000 for improvements to Robert Morris Park, including a multi-use building, pavement/concrete removal, sidewalk, topsoil/seed/mulch and storage building demolition.
  • City of Dowagiac (Cass County) is recommended to receive $300,000 to develop Silver Creek Russom Park. The project includes construction of an entrance road, a 325-car parking area, a one-quarter mile paved, universally accessible walking and exercise trail and a universally accessible play area.
  • Emmet County is recommended to receive $300,000 to develop a 10-foot wide multiuse recreational rail-trail connecting the communities of Conway, Oden and Alanson to Petoskey and Harbor Springs.
  • Fred Meijer Ionia to Owosso Rail-Trail Development, a project managed by the DNR, is recommended to receive $300,000 to develop eight miles of paved rail-trail through the communities of Ovid, St. Johns, Fowler, Pewamo and Muir. The project includes grading and drainage, bridges and culverts, access management, site amenities and signage.
  • Garfield Township (Grand Traverse County) is recommended to receive $300,000 to develop Historic Barns Park and Garden to include universally accessible paved trails, a picnic grove, interpretive center and site amenities.
  • City of Grand Rapids (Kent County) is recommended to receive $300,000 to develop Pleasant Park to include play/informal sports and neighborhood gathering areas, barrierfree playground, sledding/rolling hill, accessible concrete walks, native landscaping and rain gardens.
  • Grattan Township (Kent County) is recommended to receive $23,400 to develop a parking lot, trails, gazebo, two boardwalks with observation decks and kiosks at Seeley Creek Park.
  • City of Hastings (Barry County) is recommended to receive $244,900 to develop the .66 mile non-motorized recreational trail from Tyden Park to the existing pedestrian corridor of State Street, including paved trails, a river overlook, restoration of the river’s edge in the park and site amenities.
  • Ionia County is recommended to receive $300,000 for five miles of rail-trail surface improvements, surface grading and drainage, bridges and culverts, access management, site amenities and a signage system.
  • City of Kentwood (Kent County) is recommended to receive $125,400 to develop a boardwalk addition and replace existing boardwalk at Northeast Park.
  • Village of Lake Odessa (Ionia County) is recommended to receive $200,000 to develop the Lake Odessa Municipal Beach to include floating docks, walkways, new parking and security system. All will be universally accessible.
  • Laketon Township (Muskegon County) is recommended to receive $300,000 to develop 1.25 miles of non-motorized trail along the entire length of Bear Lake Road to extend to an existing trail.
  • Laketon Township (Allegan County) is recommended to receive $50,000 to develop a picnic area, soccer field and ball diamond at Township Hall Park.
  • Village of Lakewood (Muskegon County) is recommended to receive $45,000 for improvements to Fox Lake Park, including 1,300 linear feet of six-foot wide paved, nonmotorized trail along the edge of Fox Lake, seating overlook areas and boardwalk
    extensions for viewing and fishing.
  • Little Manistee River Weir, managed by the Department of Natural Resources’ Fisheries Division, is recommended to receive $300,000 to develop interpretive, educational and recreational facilities on the weir property in Manistee County.
  • City of Lowell (Kent County) is recommended to receive $300,000 for improvements at the Flat River Amphitheater Park to include replacing existing concrete amphitheater with a greenspace park located on the Flat River. The project also includes a kayak/canoe launch, a boat dock, walkways and an observation/fishing area.
  • Village of Luther (Lake County) is recommended to receive $84,300 for improvements to Luther Mill Pond Park, including a trail system, fishing pier, educational interpretive garden and updates to an existing parking lot and basketball court.
  • City of Manistee (Manistee County) is recommended to receive $280,000 to remove and replace the First Street Beach House in Douglas Park. The new facility will be universally accessible.
  • Mason County is recommended to receive $129,600 for improvements to the Mason County Campground to include replacement of an out-dated entry station with a new Welcome Center building, site entrance drive, parking/pull-off area and new entrance
    gates and signs.
  • Village of McBride (Montcalm County) is recommended to receive $132,300 for improvements to Robert Lee Davis Memorial Park to include a restroom, playground equipment, accessible parking, accessible walkways and a new nature trail.
  • Mullett Township (Cheboygan County) is recommended to receive $280,000 for improvements to Topinabee Lakeside Park to include site preparation, observation/viewing plaza, signage, furniture, plantings, fencing, well/drinking fountain, retaining wall, universally accessible fishing/viewing deck and play apparatus.
  • Muskegon County is recommended to receive $150,800 to develop Rotary Park, to include providing access to canoeing and kayaking for persons with disabilities and a barrier-free play ground.
  • Ottawa County is recommended to receive $300,000 to develop a waterfront walkway along 1,300 feet of Lake Macatawa to include paved walkways, boardwalks, overlooks and interpretive displays.
  • City of Petoskey (Emmet County) is recommended to receive $300,000 to develop a 10-foot wide concrete path, trailhead parking, road crossings, benches, interpretive signs and native seeding for the city’s Downtown Greenway north segment.
    City of Petoskey (Emmet County) is recommended to receive $59,700 to construct a .37 mile paved, accessible non-motorized trail connecting Village Harbor Drive and Resort Township’s East Park.
  • Village of Pewamo (Ionia County) is recommended to receive $85,200 to develop a trailhead with a pavilion, restrooms and parking.
  • Richfield Township (Roscommon County) is recommended to receive $55,800 to develop a universally accessible fishing pier, canoe/kayak launch, accessible route for pedestrian corridors and interpretive information displays at Lake St. Helen.
  • City of Roosevelt Park (Muskegon County) is recommended to receive $45,000 to renovate four existing tennis courts.
  • Silver Creek Township (Cass County) is recommended to receive $298,200 to develop the Silver Creek Russom Park to include the construction of an entrance road, a 205-car parking area, a three-quarter mile paved, universally accessible walking and exercise trail, a universally accessible play area and an irrigation well.
  • City of South Haven (Van Buren County) is recommended to receive $254,800 to develop universally accessible restrooms, pavilion, basketball courts and fencing at Elkenburg Park.
  • City of St. Joseph (Berrien County) is recommended to receive $247,100 for improvements at Lions Park Beach, including replacing restrooms, adding an accessible picnic pavilion, improving access to the water and concrete walkway enhancements.
  • Village of Suttons Bay (Leelanau County) is recommended to receive $240,000 to develop a 1.3 mile 10-foot wide non-motorized pathway with universally accessible amenities along Front Street.
  • Texas Township (Kalamazoo County) is recommended to receive $300,000 to construct 1.7 miles of universally accessible, non-motorized trail from the Al Sabo Well Preserve to 12th Street.
  • City of Traverse City (Grand Traverse County) is recommended to receive $210,000 to develop 2,900 linear feet of 10-foot wide non-motorized, multi-use trail on the Boardman Lake Trail West within a city recreation area to include picnic areas, shelters, seating, a fishing pier, a kayak/canoe launch and bike racks.
  • Tuscarora Township (Cheboygan County) is recommended to receive $250,900 to develop a trailhead for the North Central Lake Trail to include parking, a trail gateway, landscaping, lighting, benches, trash receptacles, bike rack and universally accessible restrooms.
  • Wilson Township (Alpena County) is recommended to receive $73,600 for improvements to Wolf Creek Park to include installation of a universally accessible restroom, accessible fishing platform, landscaping and crushed limestone pathways.
Go To for all the news See Get Off The Couch

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Take Action to Save Federal Money for Non-Motorized Trails

US capitol

from American Trails and other sources

Last week, the House of Representatives dealt non-motorized transportation a serious blow by passing a bill that would eliminate Transportation Enhancements. This funding helps pay for things like multi-use trails, and the Safe Routes to School program.

Highway proponents have always complained about the requirement to cover other forms of transportation, other than powered vehicles. Media coverage of projects that seem frivolous hasn't helped.

Now, it's the Senate's turn. If you care about getting around for transportation and/or recreation without burning gas, please send an email today! Links below should make it as easy as possible.

The Senate's version of the transportation bill (MAP-21) does NOT include dedicated funding for the Recreational Trails Program. However, Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) will present an amendment to restore dedicated funding to RTP at the appropriate time. (The amendment could be offered as early as next week.) This would restore RTP authorization as a stand-alone program, as well as fund it at 2009 levels.

ACTION NEEDED: PLEASE CALL and ask your Senators to support Senator Klobuchar's amendment to restore dedicated funding for the Recreational Trails Program in the Senate transportation bill (MAP-21).


As a user-pay/user-benefit program, dedicated funding for the RTP should be included in the Senate transportation bill (MAP-21). Will you support the Klobuchar amendment to MAP-21, which restores dedicated funding for the Recreational Trails Program? This amendment makes the Senate bill consistent with language that is already in the House bill.

There is a similar campaign to support an amendment to protect Enhancements and Safe Routes to School sponsored by Senator Cardin (D-MD) and Senator Cochran (R-MS) in the Senate transportation bill

See Talking Points
See Find Your Senator
See read more at American Hiking
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

Friday, February 10, 2012

SW MI Non-Motorized Plan Offers Free Bike Trail Maps

snippet of SW michigan bike trail map

from SW Michigan Planning Commission

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission is excited to announce the completion of the 9 county non-motorized transportation plan and maps. The region wide vision created in the planning document is a tool for local and state agencies regarding the investment in non-motorized transportation around the region.

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission will update the 9-County Bike Map, and facilitate the development of a comprehensive, regional Non-Motorized Transportation Plan for MDOT's Southwest Region (Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren Counties).

The map includes the following non-motorized trails: Battle Creek Linear Trail, Holland-Zeeland Bike Path Network, Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, Kal-Haven Trail, Paul Henry Thornapple Trail, Portage Bicentennial Linear Park, and the Van Buren Trail.

Also on the map are mountain biking trails: Al Sabo Land Preserve, TK Lawless Park, Fort Custer Recreation Area, Kellogg Forest, Madeline Bertrand Park, Love Creek Park, Markin Glen Park, and Yankee Springs Rec Area.

A number of pdfs are available for planning an outing. Text descriptions of the trails give mileages, basic info, and contact. Maps are available in two resolutions for downloading. Note: the high resolution files are really large.

Non-motorized transportation plans seek to identify non-motorized routes for people to use as an alternative to traditional transportation methods such as driving a car. Non-motorized routes allow people to get out of their car and bike or walk to jobs, businesses, and community events.

See SW MI Non-Motorized Plan
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

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Manistee Forest Seeks Student Bio Techs

alt text
male and female Karner Blue butterflies (photo from the National Forest Service)

from Heather Keough, District Wildlife Biologist USDA Forest Service

The Baldwin/White Cloud Ranger District, located in western lower Michigan, will be hiring four student biological science technicians to assist with various fish, wildlife, and vegetative surveys between mid-May and mid-August 2012.

Technicians will work as a member of a survey team to:
1) inventory endangered, threatened, and sensitive wildlife species;
2) assess habitat suitability for various wildlife species;
3) conduct counts to estimate abundance of Karner blue butterflies, a federally listed endangered species, within designated management areas;
4) conduct vegetative surveys to estimate acreage of suitable Karner blue butterfly habitat within designated management areas;
5) conduct vegetative surveys to assess the effectiveness of different management treatments for restoring openings, savannas/barrens, and Karner blue butterfly habitat;
6) conduct electrofishing surveys to assess the status of various fish populations and assess the effectiveness of aquatic habitat improvements;
7) identify management concerns for use in developing management plans; and
8) layout and implement habitat improvement projects for wildlife and fish.

The data collected will be used by professional staff to develop management plans and conservation measures. Technicians also will assist with fish and wildlife management activities, complete detailed field reports, enter data into various databases, and participate in outreach activities to educate the public about wildlife conservation issues.

To apply for a student biological science technician position, please contact Heather Keough for an application. Application materials must be submitted by February 29, 2012.

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Village of Honor Hopes to Become Gateway to Sleeping Bear

Honor Area Restoration Project logo

compiled from several sources

26,000 cars a day come through Honor, Michigan, and HARP President, Ingemar Johannson, wants to see more of them stop in the small town with a big name.

For a number of years, Honor has been in decline, but the HARP group, Honor Area Restoration Project, is working hard to change that.

Of course there are projects like making a better sidewalk to make the community more pedestrian and bike friendly, and cleaning up or removing decaying buildings. But for those who love outdoor recreation, the town hopes to become a gateway village for visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Johannson said, "There is such great potential here. We are in a beautiful river valley. We have a Blue Ribbon Trout Stream in the Platte River." You could put in a canoe and float to Lake Michigan.

See Honor Area Restoration Project
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

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Notes from Admin

Get Off the Couch logo

by JHY

Some of you may have noticed that there haven't been any postings here for a while. Once again, I 'm scrambling to try to make enough money to get by. I had great hopes for the Get Off The Couch website, as an income producer, but it hasn't really worked out that way. I was thinking that local places which cater to outdoor recreation would be eager to advertise on a targeted website. The reality is that most local businesses don't see much value in internet advertising. So...

I added Google AdSense ads to the site, and have had some small success with that. Of course, those ads pay nothing unless someone clicks on one.

That's doesn't mean I've given up, but I can't spend hours every week on something that pays a couple of bucks. I wish I were independently wealthy, but who doesn't?!

If you own a business in West Michigan that is related to quiet outdoor recreation (food, lodging, services, etc.) I'd be glad to speak with you about the extremely reasonable rates for targeted advertising. If you are a non-profit with similar interests you can have your logo and link displayed at an even lower rate. For more information, contact me: Joan H. Young

Anyway... I've recently become a weekly columnist at Mason County Press. The name of the feature is "Get Off the Couch - Explore Michigan." Each Thursday I'll share some current information about a place I've recently visited. There is a good chance that venue will generate some income in the near future. It's also good motivation for me to pick up the threads of Get Off The Couch, and get things up to date. I really want to add even more- there are plenty of places not yet on the site.

Other changes include plans to move the web site to a different server. That should be seamless, meaning that no one would even know I've done it, but it takes quite a lot of work on my part. However, the change will save a lot of money, so I need to do it.

You should begin to see more regular postings on this blog. Thanks for your patience!

Go To for all the news
See Get Off The Couch

Related Posts with Thumbnails