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Winter Recreation Opportunities in Northeast Michigan

While the cold Northeast Michigan weather keeps many inside, our snowy months can be the perfect time to get active. With Alpena’s many trails, now is the perfect time to get started cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, or even fat tire biking. We caught up with Thunder Bay Trails Association Vice President, Don La Barre, to learn more about winter opportunities for recreation. Thunder Bay Trails Association’s goal is to promote and protect our local trails, which is no easy feat. La Barre shares more about the hardworking volunteers, “And it really is quite special when we have the weather and the snow in the area those that are the die hards and really want to get out there like the first snowfall; we have an amazing group of volunteers that make the trails we manage accessible to all. So they’re out there for hours on end making sure people can use it.”

There are different activities for everyone’s individual preferences and opportunities both in Alpena and the surrounding counties to get started. La Barre elaborates, “We have the trails here, but in terms of places you can rent and such, those are a little more in the middle state more towards the Gaylord area and there are some awesome organizations out there that help you rent gear and go try it. We do have our youth ski program that is oriented towards clearly the youth, but their parents or guardians can be with them as well and we rent gear to them so they can join their kids at getting into the sport.”

And luckily in Alpena, there are many places to try it out, such as the golf course and Norway Ridge just a short drive away. Thunder Bay Trails Association also maintains Chippewa Hills Pathway, which is a bit farther from the city but offers a more challenging terrain for those interested in hills.  “For myself who lives in the city, five minutes away, I’m at amazing trails, and so, coming from where I grew up, that’s not a thing,” said La Barre. “It is quite special that we have those here and even in the winters you can go out and enjoy those trails.”

The Thunder Bay Trails Association And Department Of Natural Resources is hosting a lantern hike, snowshoe, and ski event at Norway Ridge this Saturday (February 2), at 6 p.m. The first loop will be lit with lanterns and the DNR will have a fire pit and smores to enjoy after your time on the trail.