MARQUETTE - Among the activities scheduled at Upper Peninsula state parks this winter, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has outdoor recreation events planned this weekend at Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park to help visitors ring in the new year.
Park officials had scheduled weekened showshoeing and cross-country skiing events, but the weather may force those actitivities to be curtailed in favor of walking or hiking excursions.
A "Shoe Year's Eve" event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Participants were to either snowshoe or cross-country ski on a one-mile loop trail lit with old-fashioned kerosene lanterns.
Kerosene lanterns light the trail for cross-country skiers at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Both the Porcupine Mountains and Tahquamenon Falls state parks are offering outdoor recreation events this weekend to help ring in the new year. (Michigan Department of Natural Resources photo)
Park officials said there isn't enough snowfall at the park to allow for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing so instead there will be a walk.
The loop features a warming shelter at the half-way point, where hot beverages, refreshments and a campfire will greet hikers and skiers. The trail has an "easy" difficulty rating.
Participants should meet at 6 p.m. at the Superior Loop Trailhead along M-107, directly across from the ski hill.
At Tahquamenon Falls State Park, a "Shoe Year's Day" event will take place from 12 to 2 p.m. Sunday. Park officials said depending on the arrival of new snowfall, participants will snowshoe around the Upper Falls, following a 1.6-mile marked trail to the falls, then back through the surrounding forest.
Very little snow was reported on the ground at the park on Thursday, but a couple of inches was forecast to fall over the next couple of days. If there isn't sufficient snowfall, there will be a hike or walk over the same trail course.
Hikers will be treated to warm beverages and refreshments. The park's Upper Falls facilities feature heated restrooms and the on-site Tahquamenon Brewery & Restaurant. A limited number of snowshoes will be available to participants for no charge.
To join "Shoe Year's Day" hike, meet at noon at the Upper Falls "Fact Shack."
Later this winter, throughout the month of February, Tahquamenon Falls State Park will offer lantern-lit snowshoe and cross-country skiing outings each Saturday night.
Stormy weather could force cancellation of this weekend's programs. To confirm the Shoe Year's events, call state at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park at 906-885-5206 or Tahquamenon Falls State Park at 906-492-3415.
For more information about the various winter recreation opportunities at either park, go to www.michigan.gov/dnrvisitorcenters. For directions to the parks and winter camping information, go to www.michigan.gov/porkies or www.michigan.gov/tahquamenonfalls.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.