When the temperatures drop and snow covers the ground you may not think of going outside, but there are plenty of reasons to bundle up and get outdoors.
Our partners at the Michigan Wildlife council took us to Independence Oaks, part of the Oakland County Parks, to show us some fun activities you can do there. Independence oaks spans over 1,200 acres, is home to Crooked Lake and Upper Bushman lake, and has over 12 miles of hiking trails. Each of the 13 county parks in Oakland County have their own activities and natural features. So what can you do at Independence Oaks? Our guide Sarah Cook-Maylen, the Natural Resources Coordinator for Oakland County parks, says "There's a ton of great activities to do at the parks in the winter, like cross country skiing. We have groomed trails here at Independence Oaks which makes cross country skiing a great outdoor activity. We rent snowshoes here on the weekends in addition to the cross country ski rentals."
Snowshoeing? If you are like me, your thoughts immediately went to the old fashioned snowshoes that look like tennis rackets strapped to your feet, but snowshoes have gotten more high tech. They work by dispersing your weight over a larger area so you don't sink into the deep snow. When you wear them they feel like oversized flip flops. They work with whatever shoes you have, but I would personally recommend high boots and possibly snow pants because the flip flop motion of the snowshoes can spray the back of your leg with snow. They also have ice fishing, hunting (Deer hunting is extended in Oakland County through January 31, 2018), and plenty of trails to hike. "Winter hiking in the parks is great." Sarah Cook-Maylenm points out, "you get to see a lot of different wildlife. You get to see a lot of our different plants at different stages in their life cycle, and we have a lot of natural resources work going on in the parks in the winter." For when you want to warm up they also have the Wint Nature Center with plenty of hands on activities for the kids. They also are going through some renovations and will have new exhibits opening soon. So whether indoors or out, there's lots to enjoy for all ages.
Our friends at the Michigan Wildlife Council are currently conducting a campaign to help people learn more about the importance of wildlife and wildlife conservation. For more information on the Michigan Wildlife Council click here.
For more information on Independence Oaks County Park click here.