Good Letter to the Editor in the Free Press Re: Parks Closure
Small savings, big loss at state campgrounds
July 18, 2007
I should have been appalled to read that Jim Radabaugh of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources had announced the closings of 20 state campgrounds ("State to close 20 remote campgrounds," July 7). But I wasn't. I should have cringed when I heard the low-brow reasoning: "None of these are close to civilization, frankly." But I didn't. Instead, I toured two of the campgrounds, Twin Lakes and Black Lake in Cheboygan County.
Both are beautiful parks, each providing unique access to the lakes they are on and the surrounding environment. Both were more than half-filled. Neither had sufficient amounts of grass to require cutting, ever. Since there is no running water, or any electricity, I am left to wonder what the substantial costs are to maintain such parks. Each park is supported locally by a small party store, and there is also a restaurant/bar. These businesses in each case rely heavily on the business provided by these parks. The closure of these parks not only places them in jeopardy for this summer, but also for the future. Campers are not going to be waiting at the gates for them to reopen, but will instead use other parks somewhere else.
So, our DNR, after thinking this through, decided to close a few low-volume parks, which, based on their size and structure, were low cost as well. This should save the DNR a few bucks, but perhaps at the cost of a few more Michigan businesses.
I did not hear of any DNR officials being laid off to save money. I suppose with 20 parks closed, they will have more time to write tickets, to generate more revenue.
|SAWTOOTH MOUNTAINS Trip|
Karen just got back from a wonderful Back Pack trip to the SawTooth Mountains. Here is just a taste of that beautiful trip. Great Pictures Karen!
|The ospreys are coming, the ospreys are coming!|
This is the fifth (and probably final) year for Stony Creek Metropark's Osprey hacking program. They have acquired three osprey chicks so far this month and hope to add a fourth. As in the past four years, the plan is to hack, or raise, the chicks until they are ready to fledge and feed on their own, and eventually become an active nesting site for ospreys, just as Kensington has done. Stony could use more volunteers to observe the chicks once they have fledged, which should be some time in early August. Volunteers work in three-hour shifts to watch the birds, track their movements around the park, record their behaviors and whether they are successfully fishing on their own, and contact the Nature Center should a bird get into trouble. If any of you fine Hiking Michigan folks can devote three hours per week, you can contact the Stony Creek Nature Center at 586-781-9113, or e-mail Osprey Coordinator Kristin Donovan at email@example.com. It's not only a worthy cause, but a wonderful way to spend time in the Great Outdoors!
|Karen has HAPPY FEET|
Nothing feels better than the "HAPPT DANCE". Just ask Karen. There does'nt have to be a reason, nor is there any specific moves that make this a Happy Dance. Just move those Happy Feet!
|NewsLetter & Super SCHEDULE Coming|
With the big Petroglyphs Open House and the July 4th, personal activities, we have been a little behind on many updates. Well, this weekend will fix all of that. The NewsLetter for July will be issued, the new and exciting Schedule of HIKES and Activities will be released, and look for a number of web site and Bulletin Board changes as well. Just about done with all of this, and planned on doing one big release by the close of this weekend. Some excellent stuff, coming your way!
|My New Toy|
I bought a reel-type push mower (yes, they still make them!) and cut my lawn with it this evening. Haven't used one since I was a kid. It's great exercise, non-polluting, and I could still hear the birds singing while I was mowing. Of course, now my neighbors think I'm a little odd.....
|PETROGLYPHS 6/30/07 Carpooling & Caravan|
A number of members have requested that I make a posting for both Carpooling and Caravaning to the Petroglyphs on Saturday 6/30/07. We have made a number of outings and Work-Bees to the Petroglyphs over the last couple of years, and have found that the open Parking Lot at the intersection of Van Dyke rd. and 18 mile rd. is a great place to meet and leave our vehicles. The parking lot is part of a strip center there, and is right there before you get onto the expressway way to head North to the Petroglyphs Park. The parking lot is in such plain and open view of the many passing motorists, we have had absolutely no problems here before.
So, for anyone wishing to Carpool or Caravan for the Petroglyphs Open House on SAT. 6/30/07, make a posting here or email me directly and lets see if we can make it easier for everyone wanting to see this mystical place.
|Colin Fletcher Has Taken The Ultimate Hike|
This was posted on the BS Hikers e-mail group:
Colin Fletcher, father of modern backpacking and
author of such books as The Complete Walker, The Man
Who Walked Through Time and The Thousand Mile
Summer; passed away June 12th. He was 85.
Sad to lose him. I learned so much from his books, both about the environment and about backpacking.
|Happy FATHERS Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!|
A Happy Fathers Day to all you great Dads out there. Many children have a Mother, but it seems that not to many children anymore, have a REAL Father. So Good job to all you great Dads, and stand-in Dads out there. Our Families need both Parents, a good Mother and a participating Good Father. Thanks for being there!
|SCOUTS DO IT RIGHT|
Our good friends at Troop 1052 sent in some pictures from their recent Tent trip to Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Dave Oakley, Master Scout has helped us out on a past NTD, and his troop are experts with Flag ceremonies, and do alot of Volunteer work at retiring old-worn flags at our various vetrans cemetaries. Troop 1052 are very active in many local community activities and volunteer constanstly around the Metro Area. On this last Cinco De Mayo day, they retired 45 flags with dignity.
Here ars a few pictures from their Tent trip to the base. Dave tells me they toured 6 different Hangers and saw over 600 aircraft. With a tour of the grounds and an IMAX training movie on Jet fighters, followed by a game of "Capture the Flag", the Troop had an outstanding time. Keep up the good work and Fun Troop 1052 and Dave Oakley.
|The TRUTH is not for Sale|
I have had 3 very long and interesting conversations today. They all involved the same subject. What was the truth with this? I will not reviel what "This" is, but all 3 conversations dealt with the same basic topic. TRUTH. During these conversations I was told a number of very profound things, that I felt were worth relaying to everyone. The biggest thing I was told about the Truth, is that it can't be sold. If it takes some sort of big sales pitch or 100 crossreferanced thoughts, it probably is not the Truth. The Truth is usually a simple thing, I was told today. It does'nt need a sales pitch or long explanations, it stands on it's own. I thought these comments spoken to me today were profound enough to write them here. I found them to be very comforting and I believe them to be correct. All 3 people I spoke with today, had similair opinions on what the Truth was. Interesting that they all felt the same way. That now makes 4 of us.
|HOLLY DISC GOLF 6/10/07 Reviewed|
Another simply perfect day! Great tempratures, low humidity and a fantastic group of people. A nice amount of kids, made it out to the Disc Golf course and we all had great fun playing the new course at Holly. I personally stink at throwing the new style Frisbees, that are used for Golf, but it will get better with practice. There was an endless parade of Golfers at the course on this day. Not just the people that joined us for the games and Lunch, but also non-stop groups of people played the couse until the sun went down. I wouild say that this new feature at Holly Rec. Area is a HUGE success!
After some Dic Golf, we all retired over to the near by "Sunset Ridge" Picnic area, were we chowed down. Some good barbecue Chicken (Grandmas secret suace), Dogs, chips, and dips, and of course Tootsie-roll Pops for desert. Everyone, including all the kids, ate well, as non-stop "LadderBall" contests went on for hours. Very Cool, simple and Fun game, for all ages. A few Horseshoes were thrown for a bit, but LadderBall ruled the second half of the afternoon. Some people went back onto the course after Lunch for another round of Golf. I was so involved all over the activities, I only shot 4 pictures. And they are pretty bad. I will get other peoples pictures for the next NewsLetter review. Until then, here are 3 bad picture I took of some of the afternoons activities. I think everyone had a great time. We even got a chance to feed most of the Park staff, that stopped by in intervals through out the day. Always a pleasure taking care of Holly Rangers, who do such a great job at making our Home base Park, such a Fantastic place. A big Thanks to Juan for putting alot of this afternoon togerther. He brought all the discs for everyone to use, and was very instructional at letting everyone know some of the basics and fine points of Disc Golf. His enthusiasm was contagious. Thanks Juan!
One of our Groups Teeing off on the course
The last of us eaters at the Picnic Shelter
National LADDERBALL competions
|WOLCOTT HIKE 6/9/07 Reviewed|
Perfect day!!! Solid Sun, low humidity and fantastic company. I learned so much about our water, water systems, bottled water and much more, from Christy, with the CLAEN WATER ACTION Group. The conversations never stopped on the Trail, or back at the Mill and Picnic area. Christy will be posting various info and items relating to the Clean Water Group, as the weeks roll on. I think everyone will be very interested in the information she will be posting.
We had our youngest member out on the Trails with us this day. Chloe, age 1 year and her parents Jen and Shane joined us on the Trail and for Lunch. I must say that with all the various children I have been on the Trail with, Chloe was the most delightful Trail companion I have yet experienced. She truly was Loving every minute of our trip. Smiling, motorboating along, you could see she was taking it all in, and enjoying it in such a clean, raw way, that it was very inspirational to me personally. Well done, Jen & Shane, for exposing your child to ALL aspects of life, indoors and outdoors. Keep up the Great work!
Wild Rose scents filled the air in many places on the Trail. A MaMa turtle laying her eggs along the Trail, and endless wild Flowers were the features on this beautiful afternoon.
Monarch Butterflys everywhere
New Boardwalk area of the "Mother Earth Trail"
Wild Rose scents filled the Trails
MaMa Turtle laying her eggs
Youngest H.M. member Chloe and Dad
Still trying to ID this Flower ("Goats Beard" maybe)
Very beautiful Flower, and not yet IDed ( there was the same exact flowers, about
6' further in the meadow, that were white instead of this purple color )
I thought it might be interesting if people could submit trail or campground food recipes - either favorites, or ones they've invented or whatever. Food and the outdoors just naturally go together!
|Sharing Titles of Favorite Outdoor Books/Films|
In addition to sharing trail food recipes, I thought it might be interesting to share favorite outdoor book titles/authors and outdoor videos/films titles, too.
I like anything by Edward Abbey and Colin Fletcher. For women, there are two excellent books of essays I highly recommend: "Solo: On Her Own Adventure", edited by Susan Fox Rogers and "Going Alone: Women's Adventures in the Wild". Wonderful books.
For videos, I really enjoy the Trailside series of videos. These were programs that aired on PBS, with John Viehman as the host. Each video deals with a different outdoor activity - sea kayaking, solo canoeing, backpacking, mountain biking. Very good and fun to watch.
I have the DVD of "Grizzly Man". I know Timothy Treadwell stirred a lot of controversy, but the DVD is great for the scenery of Alaska and of the bears.
|The Importance of Water|
Sorry I missed all the events this weekend. I had to go into the office on Saturday to review some stuff for an Access class I'm taking for my job, plus I had a bunch of house stuff to get caught up on.
Anyway, I listened to an interesting program on Air America over the weekend. They were talking about water. In poorer countries, there are 1 billion people who do not have access to fresh, clean water. Many sources of water are miles away from the villages and water collecting is the job of women and girls, who must walk for half a day to get to the nearest water source, then walk back the rest of the day, hauling heavy loads of water for their families. I got to thinking about how fortunate we are to be surrounded by huge lakes of fresh water and how easy it is for us to access fresh clean water. That's why I get upset when I see water being wasted on things like watering golf courses and lawns. I've seen automatic sprinkler systems running during thunderstorms - pouring rain and in between the claps of thunder you hear the "chit-chit-chit" of somebodys automatic sprinker system. Other states who want to continue in their urban sprawl are eyeing our Great Lakes with acquisitive eyes - especially western states. That's scary. It's too easy to get lulled into thinking that we have an inexhaustible supply of fresh water, but it just isn't so. It's one of the most prescious commodities, which is why, I guess, it's becoming another political football. Whoever controls the fresh water supply, controls everything.
Well- just something to think about next time we turn on our faucets.
|Happy National Trails Day!|
I wasn't able to get out to Holly today for all the doings, but I did manage to get in a 10 mile bike ride along the Macomb Orchard Trail for my own little Trails Day celebration.
Every time I walk or ride one of these trails I'm reminded of how wonderful these trails are, and how thankful I am to everyone who has ever had a hand in developing and maintaining them. Happy National Trails Day, everyone, and I hope you all had a great time out at Holly today!
|Pontiac Lake Rec.-AVA-WALK/HIKE 5/26/07 Review|
Chelane sent in some picts. of the weekend Hike at Pontiac Lake Rec. Area. I am still house confined and couldn't be there, so Thanks for the picts. Chelane. At least I can live voyeuristically through your photos. Great view from the top of the ridge! WOW...What a sunset! Know that I really tried to come and join you all. Mom (Jo) wouldn't let me. Not really, I just wasn't up to it yet. Looked excellent. Another Great job Chelane, and the Great Lakes Amblers.
I put up the pics from our event on 5/26. Enjoy!
Click on: http://groups.google.com/group/michigan-volkssporting/web/event-at-pontiac-lake
- or copy & paste it into your browser's address bar if that doesn't
|Happy Memorial weekend|
I hope if you haven't chosen some outdoor activity or went up North for the weekend, you are all at least kicking back a little and feeding your spirit with some relax time. There is nothing wrong with just plain doing nothing. Sit and ponder, sit and daydream. It all is just as healthy for the person on the regular GO, to sit and relax the body and the mind.
Also a big Thank You to all the Men and Women who have given their lives or who have put their lives in jeopardy to keep us all free and able to enjoy this weekend in the ways that WE want to.
|ECCENTRIC Article on recent "Wildflower HIKE"|
A good friend of both Hiking Michigan and the SIERRA Club joined us all on our combined "Wildflower Hike" at Bald Mountain a couple of weeks ago. He is one of the best local Outdoor writers in the metro Area, as well as being a Natralist in his own right. (did I mention he is an EMS tech qualified person as well) Have I sucked up enough? : ) We want to Thank Jonathan for his very complimentary article on the Hike, and for promoting a true Love and respect for the Outdoors to everyone. I personally would like to Thank the man who led the Hiking Michigan part of the Hike, John Herrgott. It was his leadershiop and knowledge of Wildflowers that made this Hike special for the Hiking Michigan people. I was in attendance only as one of the group. John made this happen, along with fellow SIERRA club people Phil Crookshank and the wonderful and well versed Joanne Cantoni. Thanks to these experts, this Hike was as much Fun and informative as it turned out to be. (Thanks gang. It was nice for me to Hike at the back of the pack for a change, and actually sniff around the Trail)
RAMBLING BUILDS A RESPECT FOR NATURE
By: Jonathan Schechter
"Some focus on the tree canopy looking for birds. Some see only the topography; others just vegetation. Some see creeks, some see animals, but the wonderful thing about having others join you on a walk is that we all share our personal focus with the group"
That's the perspective Philip Crookshank, the Outings Chair of the South East Michigan Sierra Club group, used to describe those participating in a causal nature ramble through a section of the Bald Mountain State Recreation Area.
I could not agree more, for as I tagged along on the invitation of Bob Golda, energized and passionate chair of Hiking Michigan, I could see that process in action. As for me, I focused on lush stream beds laced with carpets of skunk cabbage and the call of treefrogs hinting of rains to come.
I found it oddly amusing and warmly satisfying that as cars pulled over to the designated dirt road meeting spot, folks inquired if this was Hiking Michigan or Sierra Club. It was both. And by design.
The joint venture over the glacial sculpted hills -- hills smelling of spring and specked with trillium, wild apple blossoms, mayapples, blood root and more than a few garter snakes slithering through old leaves so dry you could hear them crackle -- was a step away from the bustle that dominates our county, and a step into the tranquility so many of us seek.
I pressed Golda a bit for the reason the two groups planned to hike on the same trail at the same time. His answer: "I think Sierra and Hiking Michigan just fell together through their mutual love and respect for nature and the outdoors."
Two hours into the trek, it was obvious he was correct. Although the groups maintain different identities, it was their respect for nature that was the keystone to their awareness and enjoyment. And with awareness and enjoyment come a sense of identity and the political motivation to defend and protect.
Some of us chatted on local issues as we wandered: stream bank erosion, midnight dumping of refrigerators and bed springs on rural roads (I'd push for the death penalty on those folks), national elections, folks who swerve to hit turtles crossing roads and active sports-oriented recreation in designated nature preserves. But mostly we enjoyed the moment, the sense of being close to nature.
And the word respect was the keystone.
Back home, as I sorted through photos of frogs hopping, a moss-shrouded-spring gurgling, vulture-soaring, flowers-blooming, snakes-slithering and good people talking, I came across a quote from noted naturalist Thomas Huxley: "To a person uninstructed in natural history, his country or seaside stroll is a walk through a gallery filled with wonderful works of art, nine-10th of which have their faces turned to the wall."
How true. There seemed to be something of a casual consensus that even more important than the political issues of global warming, environmental activism, land acquisition and river access issues and the need to make our children aware of catch words, old ones like "pollution" and new ones like "stewardship" is the need to acquaint oneself with the beauty and reality of nature. We need to turn our faces away from the wall. For without that sense of belonging through direct enjoyment of nature and celebration of the wonders of nature through walking, the rest seems meaningless.
Hiking Michigan: http://www.hikingmichigan.com
Sierra Club/South East Michigan outings: http://www.michigan.sierraclub.org/semg.
Jonathan Schechter writes on nature's way in Oakland County. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to read the article on-line at the Newspapers web site, you can click on the Link provided here: