Fernwood Nature Preserve will host a skiing and snowshoeing event at Hartwick Pines State Park.

Archived Story

Fernwood trekking to Higgins Lake

Published 9:59pm Monday, January 30, 2012

This winter has not been the most ideal for people who enjoy snow and the winter activities it invites. If you want to ski, snowshoe or snowboard, you have to head north and hope for the best.

Fernwood Botanical Garden & Nature Preserve has the perfect winter weekend planned for Feb. 18-20. The trip is based out of the Ralph A. MacMullen Conference Center (RAM Center), a Department of Natural Resources facility situated in an oak and pine forest on the northern shores of Higgins Lake near Roscommon.

“This weekend offers plenty of outdoor fun in the snow,” says Fernwood’s Jan Ferris. “We will enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, nature study, good food and more. We also plan to visit Hartwick Pines State Park, a few miles north in Grayling, which is home to one of the largest stands of old growth white pines remaining in the lower peninsula. It is awesome to snowshoe through the towering white pines and some red pines. And they have a beautiful Visitor Center with interpretive displays about pine forest habitat and logging.”

The area is home to many cross-country ski areas and plenty of forests for snowshoeing. Located directly across from the RAM Center is a circuit of groomed cross-country ski trails, where deer and wild turkeys may be seen. Another option available is the nearby Red Pine Nature Study Area, a quiet forest of huge red and white pines with interpretive signs along the wooded path.

Just learning to ski? Here is an opportunity to learn cross-country, or nordic, skiing. Ron Spears, a certified top level Professional Ski Instructor of America (PSIA), will be accompanying the tour and will offer instruction to beginners. And if you don’t have skis, cross-country skis are available for rent at the Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon.

The trip includes three days and two nights at the RAM Center, all meals and snowshoes. The fee is $325 (Members $260). Register by Sunday. Call Jan Ferris at (269) 695-6491 for more information.

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