Embrace the season, snow on Winter Trails Day on Sunday
Need to clear your head after a mind-boggling, stressful week? Head outdoors.
Sunday is Winter Trails Day, a day designed to encourage people to get outside and try new activities such as snowshoeing, cross country skiing or even a winter hike. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor enthusiasts say getting outdoors is both safe with the appropriate measures and good for your physical and mental health.
Michigan has more than 13,000 miles of state-designated trails and pathways, according to the state's Department of Natural Resources. Pure Michigan breaks down all of Michigan's trails by region, activity and amenities on its website (go to michigan.org/trails) if you're looking for a trail near you.
The Oakland County Parks system, for its part, has 80 miles of paved and natural trails for walking. All of its parks except Groveland Oaks, Lyon Oaks and Springfield Oaks golf courses are open for cross-county skiing, snowshoeing and hiking.
Independence Oaks is groomed for skiing as weather allows. And Addison Oaks in Leonard also features a Fat Tire Bike trail in the winter.
Snow or no snow "there’s plenty to see and do," said Katie Stiefel, Oakland County Parks' Communications and Marketing Assistant.
The outdoors has been a huge draw since COVID-19 last spring as one of the safest ways to unwind. Parks saw record attendance numbers in 2021 and sales boomed for outdoor equipment.
Mickey MacWilliams, director of the Michigan Snowsports Industry Association, has said that as long as the weather cooperates this winter, operators are expecting a strong season this year. Pine Knob sold out of ski lift tickets one weekend day after Christmas. Ski operators have outlined certain safety protocols amid the pandemic, including wearing a facial covering while skiing.