About Hiking Michigan

With over 7,420 members in S.E.MI. branch. we got Started in 1998. HM is now the largest HIKING Organization in the state of Michigan.

North Country Trail events

Greetings HSS Friends and Members,

Upcoming Events:

May 11th–Soldier Lake Hike
May 16th–HSS Meeting–Rudyard–Pizza and Hiking tales!
June 1st–Hike Between the Falls on the NCT—-Tahquamenon Falls State Park
June 8th–USFS–Great Outdoors Day– the NCT in the Hiawatha National Forest
June 20th–HSS Meeting–Rudyard–Pizza, Hiking Tales, and Presentation
June 22nd–Pig Roast at the USFS office–Explore the new trails!
Do check Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Facebook Page!  Do Like, Comment, and Share!
Soldier Lake Hike–May 11th
Ramble north on the North Country National Scenic Trail–Exercise–Mental Break–Enjoy the great Northwoods!
Saturday May 11th 10:00 AM at the Soldier Lake Trail Crossing H-40 (west of the Campground gate)
Bring family, friends,water and a camera–Wear sturdy foot gear–Insect repellent–as a precaution
Snack provided by HSS Goodie Bucket
Contact Stan or Kay kay1940@lighthouse.net or 989-350-2826
For a map see Map 2 of our brochure at www.NorthCountryTrail.org/hss
HSS Meeting and Pizza Buffet–May 16th
6:30 PM at Pure Country in Rudyard
Join your hiking pals, enjoy pizza, and share some hiking tales.  Discover where to hike on the NCT!
Stan or Kay at 989-350-2826 or kay1940@lighthouse.net
“Hike Tween Da Falls” June 1st
Lower Falls Parking Area–Tahquamenon Falls State Park–Shuttles to Upper Falls from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
 Tramp the banks of the Tahquamenon River from the Upper Falls to the Lower Falls, Displays, Children’s Activities
Sturdy foot gear and water a must!  Moderate Hiking–stairs and rustic tread
Wrap your day with lunch or dinner at the Tahquamenon Pub and Brewery!
Contact: Stan or Kay at 989-350–2816 or kay1940@lighthouse.net
Watch for more hiking and volunteer news in the near future.

Green Pine LK.Restorations Reviewed

GroupAnother job well done Gang. It’s great when people can get together and save something worth saving. Those Trails out at Green Pine Lake are worth saving. The Scouts thought it was worth their time in constructing all those bridges and Boardwalks, many years ago. It is worth making sure they stay around as long as possible. Even if the local Beaver has other ideas.

Mark sent me a short review of the weekend, so here we go……..


All:    Just a quick update on the trail restoration day.

First of all, thank you to all involved for all the support.

 After some great coffee and rolls provided by the Clare County Friends group, and a quick safety briefing Saturday morning we headed out on the trail with 16 people. We split into two groups and headed in different directions on the loops with plans to meet up at Green Pine Lake for lunch.  We had beautiful and comfortable weather, and more importantly we had no injuries. The two groups got back together at Green Pine Lake for lunch, shared the mornings progress and planed the afternoons activities. It was nice to see a Loon on Green Pine Lake during lunch and apparently the group that took the west leg of the loop saw a coyote up close and personal.  On the large loop we found that the beavers have been very active this spring and have completely closed a section of the large loop. I had one party from Hiking Michigan that stayed at the Mud Lake Campground they wanted to work today as well, so my daughter and I joined them to work on the Mud Lake connector trail today.

Please note all the work that was accomplished over the last 3 days.

·         The small loop off the M-115 parking lot is re-blazed and all of the brushy areas have been cleared.

·         The large loop excluding small section in the beaver dam area has been re-blazed. (Thank you to Rich and Chris from the DNR for marking a good portion of the large loop last fall.)

·         Several areas that were significantly overgrown on the large loop have also been cleared.

·         The small nature trail loop at Mud Lake has been cleared and re-blazed.

·         The connector trail to Mud Lake is re-blazed except for a small section that is near the intersection of Cook and Adams roads. (I’ll plan on taking care of that when I get more paint)  

It was nice to meet a group of hikers on the connector trail today as I was out burning up the last couple cans of paint.

I have asked the Hiking Michigan folks to post all their photos here. https://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.401732259924911.1073741827.149820138449459&type=1








To keep places like Green Pine Lake, a place that many people will be able to enjoy for many years to come, it takes constant work and attention. Than You Rosie, Larry, Peggy, Lani, Kim, Hal, Jane, Rich, Chris, Mark, Dylan and all the others I missed here. (Mark will fill in those names later) (We are not big on full last names in the various Trails & Volunteer work we do here at Hiking Michigan) THE PROJECT IS THE REWARD!                                 Rob – HIKING MICHIGAN  


Here are some items that we need to consider for the next project weekend. 

·         Address the Beaver Dam issue on the large loop

·         Replace broken boards and railings on bridges and boardwalks

·         There was some logging done within the last year that has affected the Mud Lake connector trail in a couple areas that need some significant clean up done. (The trail is however still well marked and usable at this time.)

·         Get the wooden signs back up at the trailheads and intersections.

·         Explore adding one more bridge over a small stream on the Mud Lake connector trail

I think the trail has a lot of potential for summer use this coming summer. The small loop off M-115 offers a nice little day hike that is now well defined. The short Nature Trail loop at Mud Lake offers the same. For people looking for a bigger challenge, to hike from the lot on 115 to Mud Lake via the east leg of the large loop and the Mud Lake connector would be a very challenging hike, but one that can be done now on a well marked trail.  I’m personally very satisfied with the accomplishments of this weekend.

Thanks again to all!

Happy Trails,

Mark Wilson


North/Central Branch

8175 23 Mile Road

Evart MI 49631


Cell: 231-250-2071


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THANK YOU AGAIN……to all you hard workers who donated your time and money to make this first Trails Restoration at Green Pine Lake happen. I have said this hundreds of time before…..Michigan has the very best Volunteers ANYWHERE. They give so much for ALL the people of our beautiful state!

Thanks for all the pictures too. 🙂 I collected them from all over Facebook and the NET and put as many as I could find, right here in the Slideshow. Very Cool to see what all of you did and accomplished.

4/27/13 Trails project UPDATE

Hello Everyone!

I just wanted to provide a bit of an update for the trails restoration project scheduled for April 27th

Hal and I were out on the larger 5 mile loop marking trail and we found that Beavers are once again active in the Beaver pond. In addition to that the amount of rain we have been getting along with what is forecasted for the next few days may make that area a little too wet to work in, but we’ll keep an eye on it. With that said, there are still plenty of areas that we will be able to get work done in that are good and dry.

We will still be meeting in the Parking area just northwest of the intersection of M115 and Lake Station Ave. We do have at least a couple people that will be staying at the Mud Lake State Forest Campground and also some staying overnight in Evart. I’ll give these words of advice to everyone. Please don’t cut across country from the Evart area on any of the back roads to the parking area on M115. Use US 10 to Lake Station Ave., then North to M115. Turn left on M115 and the parking area will be just a few hundred feet on the South side of the road. The back roads are in very bad condition right now and it is very slow going on the dirt roads so try to stick to the paved roads. The dirt road into Mud Lake has plenty of pot holes but we got in just fine.

Remember a good set of gloves and pruning shears if you have a set. Bring plenty of water and a lunch for on the trail.

Mark Wilson

4/27/13 TRAILS Restoration Project

Many people know of the infamous Scout Camp at Lost Lake, in Clare county. But adjoining this Camp is a State Forest area, where Eagle Scouts had built an extensive set of Trails, Bridges and Boardwalks through many different ecosystems. Without proper funds, these Trails have fallen into disrepair.

GroupWell…..Hiking North/Central Michigan, Clare County and our DNR have joined forces to restore these wonderful Trails at Green Pine Lake. We are starting this project with some simple clearing of overhanging branches and foliage. While we are doing this first Phase in restoration, we will also be noting details for future work on the bridges and Boardwalks and also updating a detailed Map we have started of the area.

This project will take a number of gatherings to finish, but the end results will be a restored Trails system that will serve many people visiting the area.





Everyone attending the Trails Restoration Project will receive a detailed colored Map of the Green Pine Lake area and Trails. Water will also be available for everyone, along with some snacks. Participants should bring some good boots, Work Gloves and their favorite hand Clippers. Additional snacks for out on the Trails is also recommended.

After the days Work, those interested are invited over to Mud Lake Campground, where a nice Campfire will be waiting, along with some Hot Dogs and other Campfire treats.

There is a group of Hikers coming up from the S.E.MI. Hiking Michigan group, to join in with the Trails restorations. Some of us are staying at the local Hotels in the area. Mark Wilson has recommended the Grand Hotel in downtown Evart, MI. Evart is only a short distance from the Green Pine Lake Forest area, and in-between there and the Campfire at Big Mud Lake Campgrounds. A good central location to stay the weekend. There are also other facilities in Big Rapids and Clare nearby.


You can contact Mark Wilson at the Evart Parks & Recreation at: 231-250-2071, or by email at: Mark@hikingmichigan.com.

You can also get further info at the Friends of Clare County, at the Link provided here:  http://www.clarecountyrecreation.org/events.htm

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Car Camping

With the big resurgence in Camping here in Michigan, many people are getting out to the Parks and doing just that. Camping also makes for a less expensive and more enjoyable Vacation as well. When was the last time you headed up north, set up Camp and enjoyed the beautiful places that are just everywhere in Michigan?

Camping does not have to always be a small Tent in the middle of nowhere. Many people do what I call….CAR CAMPING. pack that car up in the right way, get a larger Tent that is roomy and very comfortable, and even set it up at a Campground that may have all the amenities you would like to see. Hot water showers, Flush toilets, Running water and all those little things that will make your Car Camping experience something very rewarding.

Rather then a local Motel, setting up that tent, near the shoreline of a beautiful Lake or Pond, and establishing your base Camp, will allow you to explore right from your Camp site. Walk 100 yards and Fish. Hike right from your Camp site. A Campfire anytime you want one. Just a few of the benefits you get from Camping.

Mark and I put together a few sheets of what we thought where the basics to packing up the car and getting a Camp site at the right Campground for the weekend. You will of course add to the lists we have created here. But we think we have covered the basic needs of almost anyone who wanted to do a Car Camping weekend.

Car Camping is a GREAT way to see Michigan. It is much less expensive then Motels, and it gets you right there, into the beautiful spots you went to see to begin with. No need to leave the Motel or Bed & Breakfast to head out to that Lake or Trails. It is right there just off your Camp site. Done correctly, you will not even have to drive to many of the things you came to experience. You can get to them right from your Camp site.











You can download the CAR CAMPING info sheets here. Get out and see our beautiful state of Michigan. Do it in a very personal and up close way, by Car Camping. You will not regret it. There are so many different kinds of Campground around our state. Some have every amenity you could ever need, and others are more Rustic. Choose what best fits you and or your Family, and GO GET OUTDOORS in Michigan.


Silent Sports

I just read an article called silent sports. It had some interesting points and observations, but also went to places I just did not understand. It is getting to the point that I need an interpreter to read some of these articles, reports and studies about Nature and the outdoors.


Is it a bad thing now, to just enjoy the outdoors. The Nature aspects of being in the Forest, exploring the shoreline of a remote lake or pond, Fishing, sitting quietly on the edge of a Meadow with binoculars and waiting to see what I can spot emerging into that Meadow?


Why is everything now a Sport? Challenging……something to be conquered. What happened to just the enjoyment of a special ecosystem or quite place? A place that the only sounds are those of the natural world around you. That stream flowing over the rocks, the wind whipping through the Pine Trees, the Birds singing and fluttering overhead.

SunsetHollyThese are calming things. Things that allow us to turn off from the hectic world and get us connected again, to the Natural world. We need these things as humans. Everything cannot be a challenge, Adventure, Conquering moment or Adrenaline filled experience. What about learning something while we listen to the silence?

Maybe all the direct connections we now have with our cell phones, Tablets and communication devices will no longer allow these quite times. but all it takes is the OFF switch. Turn OFF these devices. Turn OFF that fake need for constant excitement and movement. Be silent with the outdoors. Experience it without hurting, conquering or flying by it. STOP…….SIT or SLOW DOWN…..and see just what you have been missing. Really look around you. See ALL the wonders that make up Michigan’s Forests, Shorelines, Lakes Streams and Natural World.

BoardwalklightThere is plenty of time for all the gadgets and fast paced stuff. Everything does not have to be done quickly or with an intensity that makes it no longer enjoyable, but rather a task that needs to be accomplished in some way. How about accomplishing nothing other then a quiet moment with the critters and natural life in the many beautiful places in Michigan. You do not need any other inanimate objects. You do not need to have any skills at any so called particular Sport. All you need is the effort at walking or Hiking to that special place and relaxing by blending into it all. Pretty simple, easy and actually rewarding.

We need these moments as humans. Especially these days, as life has become so intense and busy for every waking minute of the day. Enjoy the Silence. Enjoy the Quite. Bring nothing with you, and take nothing away but the experience. Maybe a picture or two. 🙂

TRAILS Restorations

There is something very personal about repairing or restoring a Trails system. You may not always get the chance to see the results, but rest assured, your efforts serve many, many people. Helping others to get access to different habitats, or go deeper into the Forest, is work that is some of the most rewarding.

A few years back, I worked on a new Trails system at one of the Recreation areas. New Trails to remove the erosion the previous trail had been causing regularly. The following weekend, after we had completed this brand new section of Trail, we returned to do some clean up and trimming. As we passed through a Meadow the new Trail had been cut through, there sat a family of four. Mom & Dad and their two children running through the tall grasses of this very private Meadow. It was a scene out of a Movie.

I will always remember this moment. This family had gone to a very private place, deeper into the Forest then they would have normally went, and showed their kids a private taste of this beautiful habitat. They would never had been there, if not for our weeks of work on rerouting what was originally, a bad Trail. Something I will NEVER forget.


So…….Hiking Michigan North/Central director, Mark Wilson has been in working contact with Clare county Parks & recreation and the DNR, attempting to put together a combo effort at restoring what once was a very extensive Trails system at the Green Pine Lake Trails in the Ausable State Forest area. This Trails system was built by local Eagle Scouts, many years ago, and has fallen into disrepair, due to lack of maintenance.

This Trails system is pretty extensive. Boardwalks, Bridges, intense signage, all created by who know how many Scouts, over how long of time period. But it was an amazing accomplishment for anyone.

Mark thought that it was a shame to let all of this extensive Scout work just rot away. Boardwalks and Bridges, and even Trails reach a point of no return without proper maintenance. The Green Pine Lake Trails have gotten to the edge of that point.

So between the reconnaissance work of Mark and Associate Hal, and then Ortonville Scout Master Jeff, these people GPS ed what they could in what remained of the Trails. In many cases, pushing their ways through deep overgrown Trails and Boardwalks. But they managed to GPS the loops there, and with Hiking Michigan’s help, create a Map of these lost Trails.



So here we are in 2013, and with some contacts and meetings with the DNR and local Clare county Parks & Recreation, Hiking Michigan’s Mark Wilson has managed to get a ball rolling in Trails restoration that hopefully will eventually restore the entire area Trails, to their once beautiful state. Phase 1 of these plans begin on Saturday, April 27th, 2013, at 8am – 4pm+.

This first Phase will be initial clearing of the main Trails and some signage repainting. There will also be many notes taken for Map updates, features and foliage logging and analysis of future work needed to restore some of the damaged Bridges and Boardwalks. As I mentioned earlier in this post, there is nothing as rewarding as Trails work. And this restoration of the very hard work, done many years ago by our local Eagle Scouts, makes this Maintenance/Restoration work, even more rewarding.











Phase 2 of this ongoing project will include some rebuilding of actual Bridges and Boardwalks and some heavier work along the Trails. Hiking Michigan is donating any and all Map signage for the project and along the Trails as needed. Clare county and the DNR will be providing much of the timber and materials needed for the heavier repairs. What is so very needed here is YOU. The people willing to perform these tasks of Trails restoration and maintenance. The Doers! The people behind the scenes, who will make this project a success for so many others to follow behind you and just stroll and enjoy this beautiful area. Thinking these Trails, Boardwalks and Bridges where all just here forever, and just part of the natural environment. 🙂

Besides the huge Thank Yous from fellow workers, and a bit of shinning you will get through the small News article and local mentions in NewsLetters and HM publications, your efforts will be that of Heritage work. You will have continued something that was about to fade away shortly, and made it something that your children will enjoy, along with the many, many others wandering into the area and down one of the Trails. These Trails interconnect to the infamous LOST LAKE Boy Scout Camp, right next door to this State Forest Trails system.

So please come out and join us for Phase 1 of this all summer project of restoring the Trails at Green Pine Lake, During Phase 2, participants will have Free overnight Camping, provided by our DNR, at nearby Mud Lake State Forest Campground. Hiking North/Central Michigan will be providing colored Maps for all participants, and will be working at providing Snacks and Campfire Vittles for future Phases of the project.

HMLOGOThere is nothing we love more here at Hiking Michigan then when many different groups and Organizations pull together for Nature and to serve ALL the people of our beautiful state of Michigan. We have some special surprises for those who follow through with their Volunteerism on this project, which we will keep private for the time being.

If you are interested in being a part of these work projects, starting with the April 27th starter date, then pleas contact Mark Wilson at:  Mark@hikingmichigan.com    or call him at:  231-250-2071.

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Unique Opportunities Coming

Our director for the North/Central Hiking Michigan group has been a very busy man this last Winter. Mark Wilson has become the head of EVART Parks & Recreation, contributing his outdoor knowledge and talents to his community in many ways. Starting with the development of a number of new Park Trails, a Snow Shoeing group, and a number of programs that keep the Parks & Rec. appeal for all ages and different types of individuals.

Well……he has put together something for April 27th that will not only be an interesting experience for many people, but will do something that will affect so many others, for years to come. Mark and associate Hal have managed to put together, along with CLARE county and the DNR, the start of the restoration of the abandon Trails system out at Green Pine Lake, in the Ausable State Forest area, Clare County, Michigan.

This area, NorthEast of the city of EVART, was originally developed by local Scouts from Trails creations, to Boardwalks , Bridges and Signage. It was beautiful in it’s heyday. But it now stands in ill repair. But it was not to late to save this beautiful area. So that is just what has been organized.

On April 27th, Phase 1 begins with Trails trimming and some Signage repainting. There will also be some further GPSing of the trails and area, for a final new Map of the entire Trails system there. Which means that everyone participating in this 1st Phase of work will get experience at Trails restorations, Trails building, Trails Maintenance, Area surveying and analysis, and the logging of specific work and maintenance to be performed. A planning scheme for the complete restoration of an entire Trails system area. Great Fun and experience for anyone interested in just how it all works……the Trails we hike and just take for granted on how there are just there for us.

I have just wrote this little tease because I just could not help myself with the excitement of what was going to start to take place at what could have been a wonderful Trails network, so abandoned that it would soon be un-restorable. So……in the nick of time, three groups will come together and make what once was an Eagle Scouts mission, continue to be a reality. Hiking Michigan North/Central, CLARE County Parks & Rec. and our State DNR, all working together for the best interest of all the people. Does’nt get much better then that.

Look for more details and a full write up on all the Plans coming in Phases, for the Green Pine Lake Trails. This area adjoins the famous “Lost Lake Scouting Camp” area. One of the most beautiful an extensive Scouting Camp in Michigan. We will have more details shortly. I just couldn’t wait. 🙂



Why so Different Now?

I have lived my entire life in Michigan. I am third generation Michigander and very proud of that fact. I have always felt very connected to my state. Mostly through the outdoors. The Lands, Waterways, Parks, Rivers and Lakes. Since a child, these are the things I have always thought of when I thought of my state.

But recently. OH…..maybe the last 5-6 years now, I have seen a huge change in how the people in power in Michigan view my state. They think all of the things that have defined Michigan, are for sale in some way. They do not seem to understand the delicate interconnections there are between the Land and Waterways…..between the wildlife and the Trees. They just seem to think that you can sell all the Trees and it does not affect anything else. Or you can drain the fresh waters and it does not affect anything else. I do not understand this thinking. And apparently these interconnections are not understood by our Representatives.

I write this Blog on our North/Central groups site, because I feel that the people living outside of the more populated Southeastern Michigan regions understand this at a deeper level. Now do not be insulted S.E.Michigan people. Many of you know exactly what I am saying here too. I just have seen that most people outside of S.E.Michigan actually live the connections I have mentioned above.

These are not Political things I speak of here. Although some of the issues and reasons why they are happening may have political connections somewhere, that is not their primary beginnings. Money seems to be the starting points on much of these things. But how can anyone think that we can sell our beauty, our Fresh Waters and abundant wildlife in Michigan and not pay a very dear price at some point in time?

I know this may sound naive, but I just do not understand these things. For me, Michigan is my Home, and I could never divide up pieces of my Home and sell them or abandon them for anything. money, Career, or anything. Like the BILL SB 78 that is running through Lansing at this moment. If this Legislation passes through Lansing it will remove Biodiversity and it’s protection in Michigan. Without Biodiversity, we will be left with Zebra Muscles and Asian Carp in our Lakes, and a slew of about dozen Invasive Species being the dominant plants through out our state’s lands. Then what?

There is almost no returning from that. Yet these Senators and their backers push these things through Lansing, for money today, and Nothing tomorrow. They want to sell my Home. Our Home. I thought we had hired professionals and pay them to watch over at least our communal State Lands & Waterways through OUR Department of Natural Resources. Yet OUR state agency has not only failed us but in many case they are in connections with these senators and criminal businesses and Non Profit groups who want to sell pieces of our Home with no regard to what will happen to what is left after they get done with their little piece of controlling things for THEIR little groups.

The majority of us true Michiganders are left with their scraps. Trying to fix what they have destroyed in the name of THEIR little Non Profit group or Company. Again….while the people from our DNR just sit and watch or help them do these things. I can hardly believe some of the things I have witnessed over the last two years or so. I would never have believed these kinds of things could ever happen in Michigan or by our DNR if you asked me 10 years ago. But here they are. A DNR who’s main focus is controlling our Outdoor recreational experiences. Are you Kidding me? I can select what I want to do on my Lands & waterways, and we all expect YOU, our DNR to do the jobs you where hired to do. Watch over the health and well being of our states Natural resources. Get your faces out of our Outdoor Recreational experiences and selections. And forget about sponsoring state Ice creams too. Stupid.

All I can say anymore is……..Help save our Home here in Michigan. Stop our own DNR from destroying it all. Stop these Non Profit groups in connection with our DNR from destroying whatever they want to, just to get a new BIKE Pathway or Recreational activity that is the rage at this time. Ask our DNR why Invasive Species rule our Lands & Waterways while they spend our PASSPORT money on Programs like, “CONQUERING RECREATION 101”, or millions of our dollars given to groups and communities to further build more BIKE Pathways around our state while neglecting Biodiversity and the protection of our Forests and Lakes.

Sometimes one must stand up and protect their Home from intruders. That time has come for us true Michiganders, before it is all taken away, sold down the road or crippled to the point of not repairable. We now must watch things much closer. Do not believe what you hear from these people. The DNR, Non Profit Groups connected at the hip with our DNR, or any of these so called “STAKEHOLDERS” the DNR likes to refer to the people that back THEIR plans in OUR HOME state. Investigate what they are telling us, because most of the time, it is not the truth. Do not let our Home go away on simple lies from simple minded thieves. Their goals are that of money…..Careers….Power and Control. They do not care about our HOME…..MICHIGAN!

Our Latest BIRD ID sheets

With such an increase in Birding interest here in Michigan, we decided we needed to get some ID help going. We asked our members and many expert Birders in Southeastern Michigan for their ideas and help in putting something together that would assist the beginner in identifying different Birds while out on the Trails.

The two sheet we put together should help in telling one Bird from another. Practice is always the best way to get more proficient at IDing different Birds. But these ID sheets should help everyone in getting that quick ID going, rather then just standing there and saying…..”What a Cool Bird that was”. :-)

Birding has taken some huge strides the last couple of years, with all the web sites and APPS for our cell phones and Tablets. These make Identifying Birds out in the field, much easier. But there still needs to be a pattern to what you are looking for and in what order, that will best and most quickly help you ID that Bird.

Here are a few web sites to assist you in Identying various Birds almost everywhere:







You can Download our new BIRD ID SHEETS here:

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