Snow Daze: Where to go if you love the snow
Winter recently roared back with a vengeance Feb. 22, but believe it or not, spring is right around the corner. Adventurous Mount Pleasant community members may be looking for ways to celebrate the latest round of snow, and here are a few venues that offer those activities in the Isabella County area:
According to mt-pleasant.org, Island Park, 331 N Main St., is a 50-acre park with a long list of activities available to the public, no matter the weather conditions.
The park has an ice skating rink, open daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. in January and February, according to mpcityblog.com. The rink is free and maintained by the City of Mount Pleasant Parks Department. People who want to use it need to bring their own skates.
Winter recently roared back with a vengeance Feb. 22, but believe it or not, spring is right around the corner. If you're looking for a way to embrace the latest round of snow, there's plenty of opportunities right here in Isabella County.
When the weather warms up, walking trails, sports courts, outdoor fitness equipment and more are also open for the Mount Pleasant community.
Chippewa Watershed Conservatory
The Chippewa Watershed Conservancy (CWC) owns 24 nature preserves that permanently keep over 640 acres of wild lands open to the public for educational and recreational purposes.
“(The nature preserves) are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” CWC Executive Director Mike LeValley said. “They're always free, but most of them do not have trails.”
The CWC’s preserves have outdoor activities for all, whether in the rain, snow or sunshine, from hiking in the warmer months to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter.
“Bundy Hill … is the highest point in Isabella County; there's actually about a two-mile hike out there depending on how you do it,” LeValley said. “There's a view from one point on the hike where you can see about 15 miles.
“It's actually 500 feet higher than the city of Mount Pleasant and it's a 170-foot climb from the parking lot to the top of the hill.”
Deerfield Nature Park
Located at 2425 W. Remus Road, Deerfield Nature Park (DNP) is 591 acres of a forest/river setting, according to michigan.org. With groomed trails for cross-country skiing, access to ice fishing, snowshoeing and a sledding hill, DNP is full of activities for the winter months.
Once the weather improves, DNP’s eight miles of hiking and biking trails, two 18-hole disc golf courses, swimming beach and picnic areas may become an ideal location for outdoor activities.
Hannah’s Bark Park
A collaborative effort between Mount Pleasant, Union Township and the Friends of the Dog Park, Hannah’s Bark Park features a 3.6-acre fenced area separated for large and small dogs. Open to community members and visitors with properly registered dogs, the Bark Park is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, mpdogpark.org said.
It was named in honor of Hannah Rosemary Simons-Scalise, who died in 2011 after battling Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. According to the website, she insisted that the money put aside for her funeral be used to build a dog park instead. In November 2012, the Friends of the Dog Park nonprofit was formed to fulfill her wishes.
Information about registration, requirements and fees is available here.
Sure, you'll need your snowshoes to access the courses at the moment, but according to meetmtp.com, disc golf is a low-impact sport for all ages and skill levels that still provides a full-body workout. As it becomes what industry research UDisc.com found to be one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, disc golf has also gained popularity in the Mount Pleasant area.
“We have regular scheduled leagues,” Craig Clingan, member of the Mount Pleasant Disc Golf Club said. “Saturday we play doubles at 10 a.m. all year round. Once we get more daylight we'll have a doubles (league) around 6 p.m. on Tuesdays.”
The two most popular courses in the Mount Pleasant Area are both located inside Deerfield Nature Park — the Deerfield and Wildwood courses. There are two free courses at CMU and Mid Michigan College as well.
Park fees for the Deerfield Nature Park can be found on the Isabella County parks website.