On Tuesday, start the new year snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or hiking at Thompson's Harbor State Park.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will hold a Shoe Year's Day event there, one of 11 held statewide on Jan. 1, according to the department's event website.
Friends of Thompson's Harbor State Park member Michael Rehling said the organization's volunteers will help to run the event. It's the first time the state park will host Shoe Year's Day, and he and other group members are hoping to make it an annual happening.
Activities start at 2 p.m. at the Stone Path Cabin, north of Old State Road between US-23 and E. 638 Highway, Rehling said. The DNR will plow the road, driveway and parking area to ensure hikers can reach the starting point. Participants need to have a recreation passport for their vehicles, and need to sign a waiver before roaming the park's expanse.
Hikers can warm up around a campfire near the cabin or inside the cabin itself, Rehling said. Coffee and snacks will be available as well.
Friends of Thompson's Harbor State Park volunteers will be on hand to guide participants, and give them ideas for where to go by themselves, Rehling said. They'll also have about a dozen pairs of snowshoes on hand for those looking to try them.
Trips range from as short as 1.25 miles to "you name it" across the parks' roughly 5,100 acres, Rehling said. Those looking for a more remote experience can hike old firebreaks and other trails with the help of a map made by a friends group member. It's available online at www.friendsofthompsonharbor.org, on the "Links" page.
"A person who wants a more strenuous hike aside from the groomed trails can have a heck of a time in the middle of nowhere with some understanding of where they are," he said.
Friends of Thompson's Harbor State Park works to promote its namesake, and events like these let people know what's in their own backyard, group President Mike Grohowski said.
"It's amazing, when you start talking to people, even in this area who have been there for a long time, they don't know how big it is ... they don't know where it is, they're not sure about the entrance, they don't know what you can do there."
Jordan Travis can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5688.