Friends group to host snowshoe event

ALPENA — The Friends of Rockport and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are hosting a Shoe Year’s Hike event at the Besser Natural Area Jan. 7 as part of a state effort to encourage people to enjoy Michigan’s outdoors.

The DNR, in conjunction with other organizations, is hosting several Shoe Year’s Hike events at state parks across the state from Dec. 31 to Jan. 8 to help promote a healthy lifestyle for the new year.

At the Besser Natural Area people are encouraged to come and participate in the mile-loop hike with either their skis or snowshoes. The DNR will have extra snowshoes available, which will be given out on a first come first serve basis.

Friends of Rockport President Carol Dodge-Grochowski said the event is an opportunity to see how beautiful the Rockport Recreation Area is.

“This is an opportunity, after all the foods and holiday relaxation, to reset your mindset and get out in the outdoors and enjoy the beautiful opportunities of winter sports,” she said. “People can come out to Besser and see first hand how beautiful it is and get some exercise and fresh air.”

Dodge-Grochowski said people should bring the appropriate foot wear as well as many layers of clothing to be able to adjust during the hike. She also said the DNR will be providing snacks, hot chocolate and have a bonfire going for participants.

People attending will be meeting at the Besser Natural Area off East Grand Lake Rd., approximately 19 miles north of Alpena.

DNR Spokeswoman Stephanie Yancer said there are opportunities across the state to get active in Michigan’s outdoors.

“There are the nine guided hikes and if you’re at a location without a hike we are encouraging people to go out on the trails,” he said. “We have more than 12,500 trail across the state for people to go to. We just want to encourage people to get out on the trail.”

While on the trails people are encouraged to post pictures to social media sites using the hashtag #MiShoeYear.

If there is not enough snow for snowshoeing, the events still will take place with regular hiking instead.

For more information or to find out other state parks hosting these events visit the DNR’s website and search Shoe Year’s Hike.

Tyler Winowiecki can be reached via email at twinowiecki@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Tyler on Twitter tw_alpenanews. Read his blog, Just a Thought … at www.thealpenanews.com.