WSTC

DESPERATELY SEEKING SNOW

Here's a list of locations that are far enough away from Ann Arbor to have better snow conditions, yet reasonably close for a convenient day trip. Obviously, accurate data about snow coverage is also needed. The best site I have seen is this: http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/nsa/. That site has good regional snow coverage maps. There are trail maps and phone #'s for all these places in the “Trail Atlas of Michigan”. One problem with the “Trail Atlas” is that it does not always provide good directions unless the reader is familiar with the local roads.

SHIAWASSEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
-Northern part (SNWR-N)
The SNWR-N is an attractive place with over 4 miles of skier tracked trails through woods and along the Tittabawassee River. There are actually two unconnected SNWR XC ski trail systems, but I found that the larger southern one has more open fields.

Directions (total distance from Rt 23- I 96 intersection is 77mi. There are alternative routes that might be faster, such as taking I75 to Birch Run or all the way to Saginaw, but they might involve a little more town/city driving):
• I-75 North to the Montrose/Clio exit 131
• west on Rt 57 eight miles to Rt 13
• north on Rt 13 for about 18 miles, entering the fringes of Saginaw
• turn left (west) on Gallagher St, which is 0.7mi beyond the Saginaw City limits sign
• after Gallagher crosses the Saginaw(?) River, go a few blocks until you reach Michigan Ave
• turn left (west) onto Michigan Ave and go 2.3 miles to Center Road
• turn left (south) onto Center Rd and go .8 mile (you will cross the Tittabawassee River) to Stroebel Road.
• turn left into the SNWR-N parking area. The only facility there is a primitive restroom.

PRICE NATURE CENTER SHIAWASSEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE - southern part (SNWR-S): (Both of these are about 70 mi from the Rt23-I96 intersection).

The Price Nature Center, is nicely wooded and has about 2.5 miles of trails. The SNWR-S is a complex of dykes, roads, farmland, and woods that have over 5 miles of trails. Much of the trail system is outside woods. There is an SNWR office/visitor center (Phone# 989-777-5930 office open roughly 9:00 to 3:30 weekdays) on Curtis road where maps can be acquired.

Both the SNWR-S and the Price Nature Center are off Rt 13, accessed from Curtis Road:
• I-75 to exit 131 (as above)
• west on Rt 57 eight miles to Rt 13
• north on Rt 13 about 12 miles to Curtis Road. There are signs to follow for both the Price Center and the SNWR at the Curtis Road intersection.

MIDLAND CITY FOREST (Phone:989-837-3300, 989-835-7011, 989-837-6930)
I understand that when there is good snow this place has about 8 miles of machine tracked trails. It is 90+% wooded. A downside is that the trail is shared with hikers and HORSES. (At this time the subject of horses is being discussed because skiing and horseback riding are obviously incompatible.) There is an additional network of novice to intermediate level mountain bike trails that cross the ski trails in many places. I have skied on some of those, which can be painful. Some of the trails are lighted in the evening.

Directions: (Total distance from Rt 23-I-96 intersection: 96 mi)
• Rt 23 to Rt 10 exit at Bay City - 77 miles
• Rt 10 to the Eastman Rd Exit (near milepost 122) - 17 miles
• north on Eastman 1.8 miles
• west on Monroe .4 Miles

Here's a good restaurant: Gracies Sports Bar and Restaurant - $16 buys a steak or fish dinner + a good salad bar and dessert bar. It is about 8 miles north of Rt 57 on Rt 13. It is a bit north of an intersection with Rt 13 and roads that connect with Birch Run.


-Martin Gaerttner

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