Discover Winter Nights begins Jan. 19

CASS COUNTY — With snow finally covering the ground in Cass County, officials said they have been turning their thoughts toward an annual program with anticipation.

The Cass County Parks and Recreation Department and The Friends of Cass County Parks will soon celebrate the 13th year of Discover Winter Nights at Dr. T.K. Lawless Park.  The evenings of winter fun run from 5 to 9 p.m. every Saturday, beginning Jan. 19 through Feb. 9. The annual event costs $2 per person for entry, with an additional $1 charge for a tractor-drawn sleigh ride.

Weather permitting, the popular winter event will feature a lighted tubing hill, with tubes provided or participants are able to bring their own, three miles of lighted cross-country ski trails and a bon fire.

Also, this year, the parks department will be offering different crafts for the children in the community building each week, along with some outdoor crafts in the Schug pavilion. Additionally, there will be a star gazing demonstration with a high-powered telescope, and bike trails will be open for winter mountain biking. A warming fire, a tractor-pulled sleigh ride and refreshments will be available for those wishing for a more relaxed atmosphere with family and friends, said organizers.

Despite their excitement for the annual event, Cass County Parks and Recreation officials said that residents need not wait until Discover Winter Nights to enjoy the Lawless Park.  Having hours of operation that run from sunrise to sunset, there is plenty to see and do during day light hours as well, they said.  The park is located just south of M-60 on Monkey Run Street, five miles West of Jones. The 860-acre park has long been the centerpiece of winter recreation within the Cass County Parks system. Visitors of all abilities can enjoy more than seven miles of cross-country skiing and hiking trails that travel through the scenic countryside in southwest Michigan, officials said.

Officials said that other winter activities include bird watching, observing wildlife, tubing and biking.

For more information on snow conditions or if the weather has caused the parks department to cancel a winter night activity, call the Cass County Parks and Recreation at (269) 445-4456 and listen to the answering machine for updated information or e-mail Scott Wyman at scottwy@cassco.org.

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