Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ski Pigeon Creek

I first read about Pigeon Creek Park in the guidebook Michigan Winter Trails but I didn't have a chance to ski it until yesterday.  Pigeon Creek is an Ottawa County park between Holland, MI and Grand Haven, about an hour's drive northwest of Kalamazoo.  The park offers over 10 miles of ski trails.  All the trails are groomed for traditional, diagonal-stride skiing and some trails are also groomed for skate-skiing.  About three miles of trail are lit for night skiing.  The park features a separate snowshoe trail and a lighted sled hill near the lodge.

Pigeon Creek is close enough to Lake Michigan to get lake effect snow, much like Love Creek County Park to the south, so it's worth checking when Kalamazoo's snow is insufficient.  The county regularly updates trail conditions on their Winter Sports Hot Line: (616) 738-9531.  Yesterday, their snow seemed just as deep as Kalamazoo's.

The trails are well-marked and there are many inter-connections making it easy to create loops of varying distances.  I skied for about an hour which certainly didn't exhaust all of the options.  The loops I took were very beginner friendly, with no steep hills or difficult sections.  There are steeper, more challenging, sections and these are well-marked.  Easier alternative routes are always available.
The county provides an online trail map (pdf).  Physical maps were posted at most interesections, making orientation simple.

The park's lodge is open weekday evenings and all day on weekends.  They have ski rentals available during those times and a concession sells snacks, like hot dogs, chili, and hot chocolate.  I didn't have a chance to try it since I visited in the morning.

There were only a handful of people in the park on a snowy Tuesday.  I imagine it's more popular on weekends and evenings.

Pigeon Creek is named for the now extinct Passenger Pigeon that used to flock to the area.  The trails pass through mature maple-beech forest, hemlocks, and planted pines.

directions: From US 31, north of Holland, take Stanton Road east three miles to the park entrance.

Pigeon Creek Park 
12524 Stanton Street
West Olive, MI 49460


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Winter Events 2013-14

Shorter days, longer nights, and colder weather signal winter in Kalamazoo. The season of snow brings opportunities for skiing, sledding, skating, and lots of local festivities.

Winter Events near Kalamazoo
November 9, 2013 The Annual Kalamazoo Holiday Parade 11 am Kalamazoo
December 2, 2013 Marshall's 49th Annual Christmas Parade 7:00 PM Marshall

December 3, 2013 Parade of Lights 6:30 PM Holland
December 6, 2013 Sinterklaas Eve Procession 7:00 PM Holland

December 14, 2013 Free Admission Day and Local Gift Fair  9 am -4 pm Kalamazoo Nature Center Kalamazoo

December 14, 2013 - January 5, 2014. Christmas Bird Count
December 14?  Santacon Kalamazoo 6pm Kalamazoo

December 31, 2013 New Year's Eve Fest Kalamazoo
January 10-11 2014 Ice Sculpting Competition Holland
January 11-18 2014 Kalamazoo Beer Week Kalamazoo
January 17-19  2014  Hunter Ice Festival  Niles
usually around January 18 Schrier Park Winter Sports FestPortage

January 23 - 26, 2014 Winterfest 2014 Grand Haven

January 30 – February 1, 2014 Muskegon Snowfest Muskegon

January 31 – February 2, 2014  Icebreaker  South Haven

February 7-9, 2014 Magical Ice Carving Festival Saint Joseph

February 14 -17,  2014  Great Backyard Bird Count

February 15 - 16, 2014 Free Fishing Winter Weekend throughout Michigan

February 22, 2014 Winter Beer Festival Grand Rapids

March 1, 2014 Quietwater Symposium East Lansing

Ongoing events
International Festival of Lights Battle Creek November 23-December 31

Holiday Kerstmarkt Fridays and Saturdays Nov 23 - Dec 14, 2013 Holland

Millennium Park Skate Rink
opens in December  Portage

See also

Discover Kalamazoo's event listing

Monthly Events Roundup from Pure Michigan
Outdoor Athelete's Winter Sports events

Gazelle Sports Races and running calendar

Kalamazoo in Winter
from CommunityLink

West Michigan Winter Weekends

Sarrett Nature Center's Weekend Programs Benton Harbor

The Department of Natural Resources has events in the State Parks in NovemberDecember, and January

Friday, October 25, 2013

Peak Color in Kalamazoo?

This week looks like it will be close to the peak time for Fall colors in Kalamazoo, which is in line with Michigan's average fall color dates.  Some predicted a slightly longer Fall color season this year, although I'm not sure how this week's snow will affect that.

It should be a nice time for a drive through the countryside.  Pure Michigan recommends a Grand Rapids - Grand Haven - South Haven - Kalamazoo Color Tour and a New Buffalo - St. Joseph - Benton Harbor - Paw Paw Driving Tour. The West Michigan Tourist Association has a description of several recommended color tours in the region.

It should also be a great time for a walk in the woods, a ride on a bike trail, or-- if you dress warmly-- a paddle on a river or even a Fall camping trip.

The Michigan Nature Association posts on  Why do leaves change in the fall?
The US Forest Service has a page on the Science of Fall Colors.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Eliason Nature Reserve

Earlier this week, I visited the Kalamazoo area's newest park, the Eliason Nature Reserve in Portage, just west of Bishop's Bog Preserve.  The property was donated by the Eliason family, to protect the natural area.  The park opened to the public this summer.

The main attraction in the reserve is a walking trail that runs from one end of the preserve to the other; it's just over a mile long (making the round trip about two and half miles, in all).  Since the Reserve protects a bog, I expected a wet walk but the trail runs on an elevated ridge through an Oak Hickory forest.  In places, it crosses open grassy areas (perhaps an Oak barrens) with some nice patches of Little Bluestem grass.  The trail's loop at the southern end of the preserve was dominated by maples, suggesting moister soils.

The range of habitats seemed to support a fair amount of wildlife.  I saw three deer on my short visit, along with a number of squirrels, Robins, and Blue Jays.  From certain sections of the trail, cars on Shaver Road are visible as well as the railroad tracks.  An old silo on the preserve signals its agricultural heritage.

Long-term plans for the Reserve include extending the Portage Bikeway through the park (bikes are currently prohibited) and developing more trails and recreation areas.  It's already a nice place for a short walk, particularly in autumn as the hickorys turn golden and the sumacs crimson.

Access: while there's a large sign for the Reserve on Shaver Road, which is the park's official address, access to the park is from Portage Industrial Drive. This little street, fully developed with light industry and office buildings, isn't the typical setting for a nature preserve but a small sign near the end of the cul-de-sac marks the entrance to the trail.  A paved path winds between the buildings and past a cell phone tower to reach the forest.

You could also reach the Reserve by parking at Portage's South Westnedge Park/Bishops Bog and going west on the bike trail.  

Eliason Nature Reserve
9202 Portage Industrial Drive
Portage, MI 49024
[address is approximate]

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fall Events 2013

Cooler weather, migrating birds, and colorful leaves mark Fall in Kalamazoo.  It's a great time for a walk in the woods, a paddle down a river, or a ride on a bike trail.  Many towns in the area have festivals to celebrate the season.  Enjoy!

Fall events around Kalamazoo

September 6-8  Paw Paw Wine and Harvest Festival Paw Paw

September 21 Apple Fest Coldwater

September 13-15 Grand Haven Salmon Festival Grand Haven

September 27-28 Fall Festival St. Joseph

October 5 Bangor Harvest Festival Bangor

October 5-6 Scotts Old Tyme Harvest Festival Scotts Mill County Park Scotts

October 13 Fall Color Cruise Kalamazoo River Valley Trail Kalamazoo

October 12-13 Cranefest Bellevue

October 12-13 Fennville Goose Festival Fennville

October 19-20 Arts and Eats Tour  Hastings, Middleville, Hickory Corners, and surrounding areas

Also consider:

All Things Autumn from West Michigan Tourist Association

8 Ways to Celebrate Fall from Pure Michigan

September Events, October Events, November Events from Pure Michigan

September events in Kalamazoo
Michigan Apple Festivals

Fall recommendations from 52 Michigan Weekends

a Fall Color Tour

Fresh apple cider from VerHages Cider Mill.

West Michigan Tourist Association has a list of Harvest Time Festivals, a Weekly Color Report, and more Color Tours

Fall walks and rides on the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail

Event listings from Discover Kalamazoo

Gazelle Sports' calendar of West Michigan Races and Running Workshops

League of Michigan Bicyclist's Michigan Ride Calendar

West Michigan Coastal Kayaker's Association Event Calendar

Outdoor Athlete has lists for Michigan running, biking and triathlon events.

The Department of Natural Resources has calendars of events for State Parks and Recreation Areas: September, October, November

Monday, August 19, 2013

Kalamazoo recreation map

View Larger Map

Here's a map showing some places to enjoy nature near Kalamazoo.  I made the map using ArcGIS Online as an assignment for a Coursera MOOC.  Clicking the icons gives a little more information about the location and sometimes a photo and link to a relevant blogpost.

Monday, July 1, 2013


I'm not an avid enough birder to recognize every species at a glance.  I have better luck identifying  big birds (like herons, cranes, or ducks) or colorful birds (like orioles or scarlet tanagers) than with small brown birds.  Fortunately, this House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) had nested in a birdhouse above a friend's deck and it was shuttling back and forth with food for its babies.  This brought it close enough to identify and because it followed the same path from bush to bush to tree made it possible to capture a picture.

These wrens migrate to the southern US during the winter and return to Michigan in April to breed.  [Michigan Bird Atlas pdf].  They prefer an edge habitat with a mix of woods, brush, and open space.  Suburbs and small towns often offer this kind of environment giving the House Wren its common name.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer Events 2013

Summer in Kalamazoo is a great time for  biking, canoeing, hiking, camping or swimming in Lake Michigan.  It's also time for a variety of summer festivals in the area.

 Summer events near Kalamazoo

May 31-June 2 Cerulean Warbler Weekend Hastings

June 1 2013 Kalamazoo Bicycle Film Festival  Kalamazoo

June 1 National Trails Day

June 8-9 Michigan Free Fishing Weekend

June 9 Kalamazoo River Trail Grand Opening noon-4pm South Wenke Park, Comstock

June 13-15 56th Annual Waterfest Three Rivers

June 20-23 Harborfest South Haven

June 22  Paddle to Pedal Event on the Flat River Belding

July 3-7 Balloon Festival Battle Creek

July 10-15 Kindleberger Summer Festival Parchment

July 19-21  Old Tyme Tractor Show Scots

July 21 Southwest Michigan Bicycle Expo Kalamazoo 10am-4pm (county fairgrounds)

August 8-11  50th annual Blueberry Festival South Haven

Also consider:

Long weekend suggestions from Pure Michigan

Sand Sculpting 101 various dates at State Parks on Lake Michigan

West Michigan Summer Weekends

Kalamazoo Farmers Market

Michigan Fireworks Displays a comprehensive list of fireworks throughout the state

Events at Kalamazoo's Arcadia Creek Festival Place
Event listings from Discover Kalamazoo
Gazelle Sports' calendar of West Michigan Races and Running Workshops

Open Roads Fixapalooza
League of Michigan Bicyclist's Michigan Ride Calendar

West Michigan Coastal Kayaker's Association Event Calendar
Outdoor Athlete has lists for Michigan running, biking and triathlon events. 

Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy volunteer workdays
State park events for June, July, and August 2013 from Michigan's DNR

Michigan Festivals and Events Association Events browser

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bells to Bells bike ride

The final event for Kalamazoo Bike Week 2013 was a ride from Bell's Eccentric Cafe in downtown Kalamazoo to their production brewery in Comstock.  The ride was about 7 miles each way, half on the Kalamazoo Valley River Trail and half on M-96.  The ride was a fundraiser to build the final 13 miles of the KVRT.
Roughly 75 riders participated, led by Laura Bell, director of marketing at Bell's.  People rode a wide assortment of bikes including mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrids, fixies, and tandems.

At the brewery, Bell's staff led tours showing off their expanded production facilities, including environmentally- friendly features like their energy recovery system and green roof.
The return trip followed the same route.

After the ride, cyclists relaxed over  a beer at the Eccentric Cafe and had the opportunity to win Bell's merchandise in a raffle. 

I didn't win any prizes but I did enjoy a couple of specialty beers.  The weather was perfect, both for the ride and for Bell's beer garden.
The next addition to the trail will run along the Kalamazoo River behind Bell's brewery making future Bells to Bells rides even more attractive.  Long run plans include connecting the trail to Battle Creek's linear park and eventually creating a system of bike trails that link together across the state.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Bakeries and Bikes in Kalamazoo

This week is Kalamazoo Bike Week so it's a great time to visit our local trails.  The newest section of the KRVT offers several places to stop for a snack.  It's hard to beat a bike ride and a cookie on a Spring day.  

I'm not sure if bakeries were a criterion when the planners selected the route for the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, but it almost seems that way.  The section from Comstock to Parchment is particularly rich in baked goods.

Bert's Bakery in Comstock is just across the bridge from the eastern end of the KRVT.  The front of the shop is full of potpourri-type gifts, but if you walk past all that you will see two glass counters full of sweets.  Bert's offers a full selection of the usual cookies like peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip, frosted sugar, or brownies but they also have some unusually tasty fruit-filled cookies.  These are almost like really flat pies, with a thin layer of fruit filling between cookie crusts.  They come in a variety of flavors: apple, almond, cherry, raspberry, blueberry, etc.  I don't know if they bake bread and I haven't tried their cake but the cookies are good.  (From their website, it appears that they make a lot of wedding cakes.)  You can enjoy your cookies on a bench outside the shop or cross the street to Merrill Park.
Bert's Bakery
309 River Street
Kalamazoo, MI  49048

MacKenzie's Bakery is about 4 miles from Bert's at the edge of downtown Kalamazoo.  It's directly across the street from the trail and it offers a wide variety of treats.  This is MacKenzie's main kitchen that bakes for its retail outlets on Westnedge and West Main.  I enjoy their cookies, donuts, pastries, brownies, and bread.  They also serve sandwiches, if you want a meal.  They have tables inside and outside.  It's my most frequent stop on the KVRT.
MacKenzie's Bakery
527 Harrison
Kalamazoo MI 49007

Sarkosy's Bakery is my favorite bakery in Kalamazoo, particularly for breads.  The original bakery closed after a fire and is in the process of raising money to move to a new location [update: Sarkosy's is open in a new spacious setting.].  The bakery is in Kalamazoo not far from MacKenzie's.  This is the bakery for bread; their oatmeal bread has been the default bread at our house for years.  Cheese crowns, cookies, and other sweets make great snacks.  (And, during Mardi Gras season, their paczkis are legendary.)  The trail isn't clearly defined through downtown, relying on sidewalks and back streets to connect the paved section along the river to the paved section that starts at Westnedge.  In any case, the short detour to Sarkosy's will be worth it.
Sarkosy Bakery
350 E Michigan Ave  [new location]
Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Continuing a few miles north on the trail, brings us to Parchment and Renzema's bakery.  Renzema's is an old-fashioned place near the trail.  I often park nearby and it would be a great stop for a doughnut if they were open later in the day.  For me the problem is timing.  Renzema's is open from midnight to noon and I'm often there in the afternoon.  If you are there in the morning (or late at night), it's worth a stop.  I'm not really a fan of their bread and their cookies are nothing special (but they are inexpensive.) I do recommend the donuts.
Renzema's Bakery
214 Link Ln
Parchment, MI 49004

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Wildflowers at Warren Dunes

Like most people, I think of Warren Dunes State Park as a summer destination: swimming at the big beaches (with big parking lots), climbing Tower Hill to see Chicago across Lake Michigan, picnicking, or camping.  So it had been a few years since I'd visited during the Spring wildflower season.  On Thursday, I went to three parks in the southwest corner of the state: Grand Mere, Warren Dunes, and Warren Woods.  The three are only a few miles apart and each offered a different glimpse into Michigan's Spring.

Warren Dunes was at peak wildflower time.  I ate lunch in the picnic area, surrounded by hundreds of blooming Trillium.  The trillium continued all along the trail to the campground and on the slopes of the wooded back dunes.  As the trail turned uphill, other wildflowers came into sight: both Dicentra species (Dutchman's Breeches and Squirrel Corn), Rue Anemone, Toothwort, Violets, and a lone Jack-in-the-Pulpit.  Two other plants, with less conspicuous blooms also caught my eye: Blue Cohosh with its tiny green flowers and the hairy, ground-level flowers of Wild Ginger.

Other ephemerals, like Hepatica and Bloodroot, had already bloomed and their leaves were gathering energy before the tree canopy shaded them for the summer.

This beach will be full of people in a couple of months.

Warren Dunes State Park
12032 Red Arrow Hwy 
Lake Charter Township, MI 49125

State park pass or entry fee required.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wildflower season continues

Yesterday morning didn't look like a promising day for wildflowers in Kalamazoo.  Then the skies got even darker and dropped big hailstones (mostly about a quarter inch but the biggest were a full inch across) followed by heavy rain.  But, by mid-afternoon, the sky was clear and bright.  When I finished some grading, I drove out to the Kalamazoo Nature Center to see how the season was progressing.

Lots of wildflowers were in bloom.  Spring Beauty, Toothwort, Trout Lily, Dutchman's Breeches, and Marsh Marigolds seemed to be at their peak.  Rue Anemone were widespread.  The Spicebush near the Kalamazoo River, were dotted with clusters of small yellow flowers.  With temperatures reaching 80 degrees, some of these may go to seed quickly.

The Hepatica, which were in full bloom last week, had already formed seedheads and their fresh leaves (that will last until next Spring) had emerged. 
There were some signs of the next wave of blooms.  Squirrel Corn, which bloom later than the closely related Dutchman's Breeches, were showing some immature green blossoms and, in sunny areas, a few were in full flower.  Mayapple umbrellas were open in big clusters.  Lots of Trillium had unopened buds.  Those may flower by this weekend.
Besides the flowers, it was a reasonable day for wildlife watching.  I saw a Wild Turkey from the parking lot, a Pileated Woodpecker near the river, and lots of turtles and one water snake sunning in the pond.  Not a bad end to a day in the woods.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

KRVT wildflowers

Another week of April rain, hail, snow, and work kept me inside, but Saturday was glorious: sunny and warm.  I was torn between a trip to the Kalamazoo Nature Center to see wildflowers or my first bike ride of the season.  The bike ride won, but it turned out to be a good afternoon for wildflowers as well.

I think of the northern leg of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail as the most scenic and the most likely section for nature but today I took the western segment that connects to the Kal-Haven Trail.  This part of the trail runs from Westnedge Avenue near downtown Kalamazoo to the 10th street trailhead with lots of street crossings, light industry, and it includes nearly a mile on the edge of Ravine Road.    
The westernmost part of the KRVT  (around trail marker 1.5 mi) had several nice patches of yellow Trout Lilies and a large number of Toothwort.  They continued nearly all the way to the trailhead parking lot. Mixed in, were a handful of Dutchman's Breeches in bloom.  (Apparently it's still before their peak.)
The highlight was the most impressive display of Bloodroot that I can remember seeing.  There were several large patches of brilliant white Bloodroot flowers, including one with more than 100 blossoms together.  The Bloodroot flowers were so bright and so big, relative to other Spring ephemerals, that I thought the first patch was some kind of domestic flower that escaped a garden.

Individual Bloodroot flowers don't last long so I was happy to have seen them at their peak.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Wildflower season 2013 begins

I hadn't had much of a chance to get out in the woods to look for Kalamazoo wildflowers due to a combination of work commitments, travel, and what seemed to be nearly constant rain (as well as Saturday's snow).  Last year, the wildflowers bloomed a full month earlier, so I was afraid I'd missed the start of the season.  But, a quick visit to the Kalamazoo Nature Center this afternoon, showed the 2013 season was just starting.  The early ephemerals were in flower; the Hepatica may be near their peak and the Spring Beauty seemed to be just starting.  Bloodroot was in flower.  I even saw a few Harbinger of Spring with late blossoms, although most of them had gone to seed.

I had glimpsed Marsh Marigolds in bloom along I-94 yesterday, and they were also flowering at the nature center.  Like the Spring Beauty, they seem to be at the beginning of their bloom.
Toothwort, Trout Lily, and Rue Anemone had buds but few blooms.  Mayapples were emerging, but their umbrellas were still tightly furled.  Most of the Dutchman's Breeches only had a few immature green flowers, but a handful of plants in sunny areas were in flower.

So far, this year seems similar to the 2011 wildflower bloom.  If that pattern holds, a period of warm weather could cause a condensed season where everything blossoms within a few weeks.  In any case, the next week or so should be a great time to visit some of the local wildflower hotspots or travel a bit to other wildflower spots in West Michigan.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hueston Woods State Park

Spring has sprung in Ohio.
Hueston Woods State Park is about 5 hours southeast of Kalamazoo in Oxford, Ohio.  Last week's rain had kept me indoors despite my eagerness to check our local wildflowers and I was going to out-of-town this weekend.  Yesterday, I was at Miami University of Ohio for an event and I had the afternoon free so I decided to visit Hueston Woods which was only five miles from the University.
Oxford is more than 100 miles south of Kalamazoo and the signs of Spring were visible in town with daffodils and magnolias in bloom, while Kalamazoo enjoyed crocuses and promise for the future.  The same was true in the woods.  As soon as I pulled into the parking lot for the Blue Heron trail  I saw thousands of flowering Spring Beauty, Dutchman's Breeches, and Toothwort.  Mayapple umbrellas were up and open.  The short trail to Acton Lake was through a mature maple beech forest and the wildflowers continued, with Toad Trillium being a highlight.  
The park offers several short hiking trails, a separate mountain bike trail system, horse trails, camping, a Nature Center, swimming, boating, and fishing, a lodge, a golf course, and a disc golf course.  (See the park map for details [pdf].) 

The park also allows fossil collection (for personal use) in two areas along Four Mile Creek.  The Ohio DNR provides a nice guide to the Ordovician fossils of the park [pdf].  I found a couple of nice brachiopods, a horn coral, and lots of mollusk shell fossils in just a few minutes.  (Dry Dredgers, a fossil enthusiast organization, reports on a field trip to Hueston Woods with lots of photos.)
While it was nice having a walk in the Spring woods while Kalamazoo had some end-of-season snow,  the park is a long drive from southwest Michigan.  If your travels take you to the area, I would certainly recommend it.
Hueston Woods State Park
College Corner, OH 45003

free admission

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring Events 2013

While Kalamazoo's Spring started with substantial snowfall this year, warmer weather, birds, wildflowers, and morels are all on their way and hiking and biking will replace the winter sports.   A substantial number of local events celebrate spring.

Spring events near Kalamazoo

March 1- April 30 Butterflies are Blooming at Meijer Gardens Grand Rapids

April 13th Wenke Greenhouse tour 9-10:30am Reservations Kalamazoo

April 13 Friends of Indiana Dunes Native Plant Sale 8 am -1 pm Indiana Dunes State Park Chesterton,IN

April 13 Annual Midwest Crane Count 5:30-7:30 am

April 20 Third Annual Grand River Green Up 9am-noon Harbor Island, Grand Haven

April 20 8th Annual Lakeshore Earth Day Celebration Grand Haven

April 20-28, National Park Week   (subject to sequestration cuts)
April 22 Free Admission for Earth Day at Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 9:00am - 5:00pm Augusta

April 26-27 Thornapple Woodpecker Festival Middleville

April 27 Green-A-Thon 2013 Celery Flats Portage

May 4-11 Tulip Time festival Holland
May 4 Blossomtime Grand Floral Parade 1pm St Joseph - Benton Harbor

May 4-5 Victorian Days Grand Ledge

May 11 Spring Blooms in the Dunes (and Native Plant Sale 9am - 3pm) Gillette Visitor Center Hoffmaster State Park Muskegon

May 11 Lees' Kayak & Canoe Demo day Kalamazoo

May 11-18 Kalamazoo Bike Week Kalamazoo

May 17-19 Great Lakes Kite Festival 2013 Grand Haven

May 18 Family Fishing Fair Ramona Park 10am-1pm Portage
Also consider
Maple Syrup Events 2013

Vegetable planting dates

Earth Day Activities throughout Michigan

Earth Day events in Metro Detroit

Wild Ones (Kalamazoo Chapter) Programs & Field Trips

Battle Creek Cleanwater Events

Tawas Point Birding Festival Iosco County May 16–19

Event listings from Discover Kalamazoo
DNR has calendars for State Park events in March, April, May
Gazelle Sports' calendar of West Michigan Races & Running Workshops

League of Michigan Bicyclists Michigan Bicycling Calendar

Outdoor Athlete has lists for Michigan running, biking and triathlon events.

Michigan Festivals and Events Association Events browser

Spring weekend getaways


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Maple Sugar Festival

The Kalamazoo Nature Center's annual Maple Sugar Festival is this weekend.  The event features demonstrations of maple sugaring, from tree to syrup, and maple-centered food.  We enjoyed pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast this morning and, later, some maple cotton candy.  In the afternoon, they feature sundaes: ice cream with maple syrup.

They have different activities and shows for kids.  We saw a raptor demonstration with an American Kestral, Red-Tailed Hawk, and a Screech Owl.  We skipped the Maple Sugar Tour this year, to have more time at the Delano Homestead area.
Maple Sugar Festival events at Delano Homestead included a pioneer maple syrup demonstration, where sap was collected in wooden buckets coated with beeswax, then boiled in iron pots over an open fire. 

There were demonstrations of blacksmithing, spinning yarn, and rides in horse-drawn wagons.

Kalamazoo Nature Center
7000 North Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49009 

KNC's Delano Homestead
555 West E Ave
Kalamazoo, MI

Interested in other maple events near Kalamazoo?  See 2013 Maple Festivals