Posts Tagged ‘Michigan Natural resources’


The Best of the NEW YEARS

December 27, 2013

HMFACTSAs Hiking Michigan enters it’s 16th year in existence, I would like to Thank the now, over 7,200 members that make up the largest Hiking Organization in the state of Michigan. Not only is this Group the largest, but in my opinion, It is one of the nicest, friendliest and excepting Outdoor groups in the state. It takes ALL of you members to have produced this wonder place for everyone to come and be excepted and enjoy Nature together.

I would also like to personally Thank everyone who have been so patient, kind and reassuring towards all the delays in Hike schedules this past year. My health recovery has been very slow, and I have received some of the most beautiful emails and letters from you HM members.

We will definitely be back on track come this Spring of 2014, with regular Hikes and Outdoor activities. Your support and loyalty to, YOUR Group has made us even stronger, and shows just why Hiking Michigan has survived and prospered for going on 16 years now.

HMchristmasI would like to wish all of you the best of the Holidays and hopefully the very best upcoming NEW YEARS!!!!!  We will be sneaking in some random Campfires and maybe a Snowman build over the Winter months, before we get back solid with a regular Hiking schedule come Springtime.

Again……..Thank You all so very much for your personal support and kindness/understanding on all the schedule delays and the support for my personal healing. It has meant alot to me. But it shows why we have made 16 years and why YOU are all the best Trail partners anyone could ask for!

Michigan-Night-LightsOne side note here………I personally belong to many Outdoor Groups. There are also some great ones out there. But there is just something about the HM members that make you guys stick out from the rest. Your acceptance of everyone that joins in on a Hike. Your friendliness and sharing of Trail supplies and Outdoor knowledge. This has made it  easy for anyone to just stop in here, not know anyone else, and join in on the fun of exploring Nature and all the beauty our state of Michigan has to offer. No one can make any of you do those things. You all just have done it anyways. THANKS!



So Who gets the Baton?

May 6, 2013

I was talking with a lifetime Role Model of mine. Yes……even at my age, I have Role Models. We all need to be checking our own actions up against something or someone. We need those “Touchstones” to know if we are heading down the correct Trail, and not the bad Pathway.

This Role Model Individual of mine happens to be a longtime Scout Master. I actually have a couple of Role models that are Scout Masters. I do not think it is a coincidence either. Our conversation was about who do we pass the Nature Baton off too. We are both getting up there in age and those thoughts become more prevalent as you see time running out, little by little.

FireStarterBoth of us have spent the last 20 years or so doing as much Outdoor Volunteer work as we could possibly handle and still remain responsible adults and family members. Dave through Scouting and myself through Hiking Michigan have sponsored and organized literally countless Events and Outdoor activities for all ages. Many focused on educated or giving children an outdoor experience. Yet both of us felt like there was no Baton being passed along.

Yes…….we have both put together some very Fun and educational Events for the Kids. Dave much more then me through Scouting. We both have seen up to 100 children attend a specific Outdoor activity or Event and everyone enjoyed the experience. But what we were talking about to one another had nothing to do with just having Fun. That is not what success was being judged by here.

If you through enough money at something, or even work hard enough to sponsor or organize an Outdoor Event, it is not that hard to get 100 kids to show up with parents and/or family members. But in the big picture that really doesn’t mean a real lot. We are talking lifetimes here. The next Generation. Not just a Fun afternoon.

We are not nurturing new Leaders. We are not giving these children an outdoor experience influential enough to turn their lives into something different or special by dedicating THEIR lives to THEIR generation and it’s understanding of the Natural world and it’s importance to us and the entire world.

Troop-139_Scouts-8647-copyIt starts with Mom & Dad. They have the greatest influence on the children. Mine taught me the greatest respect for the Natural world. Enough that it has stuck with me until this very day. But besides the parents it then takes dedicated individuals, usually Volunteers, because this kind of caring and nurturing does not pay alot of money if anything at all. In fact……these days, the money part mostly contaminates the experiences for the children. They do not learn much when the leader or Instructor is trying to just further their career, advance their Non Profit group or make more money for their own business. The children can learn those things at school or out in the business world.

The Natural world links us all through our hearts and spirits, and not our egos. Children see this very quickly. They know when the adult, Leader or Instructor is there for the money, Career or alternative motive, and not for the true love of the Natural world or the want to show THEM the beauties and wonders that make up EVERYTHING on our planet.

As Dave and I talked about all of this further, we wondered if all of these outside and bad examples where not already poorly influencing the children. How many times can you try and fool the Kids before they just give up on it ever being real, or the truth. They will not say anything to you about it directly, but the determinations from the examples they have been shown, have already been made by them inside. Now the battle starts back at convincing them that Nature is important. That it is not just a way to make yourself popular or make a big career for yourself as they have been shown up to this point in time.

It gets pretty hard to move forward starting so far back. BUT…….it can be done. IT IS being done. Both Dave and myself have seen it, still see it and know that it is still possible under all the past bad Pathways, Electronic sideshows, and poor leaders that have been danced in front of these kids.

KidsBirds copyMaybe rather then saying we have had a big successful outdoor Children’s Event, when 100 kids show up. We should rather feel more successful when we have the same amount of time and energy spent on 6 children for the afternoon or weekend. All that time to answer every one of their questions. Show them everything they wanted to see. Let THEM hand feed the Birds……Let THEM turn over that rock, see what they find and examine what is there with them for how ever long they want to spend there.

It seems that with 100 children attending an Outdoor Event an no one to pass the Baton too, and 6 children attending an Outdoor Experience and just maybe every single one of them being influenced in such a positive way that they too will influence others their own age with the same excitement as they have felt from their experience, is something we then can consider passing the Baton too. Better yet……they take the Baton from us on their own.


Be Michigan OUTDOORS

March 17, 2013

BOOTSmainPATCHWe have been looking for a way to make it easier to continue our quarterly Newsletter, Share outdoor Links, and have a place where you all can come and find all types of Outdoor connections. Connections to other Blogs with useful Nature knowledge. Blogs & Websites for Birding, Geocaching, Camping and Hiking almost anywhere.

YES…..we have this Blog here, the official Hiking Michigan Blog. But it is focused on the Group, it’s Hikes, what we experience more specifically on those Hikes. Individual Parks and trails we visit and mostly HM Group related stuff.

The new BE MICHIGAN Blog, covers a little bit of everything. And not just HM related. The Blog is also open to many other Outdoor experts and friends who will be writing articles and making Blog postings on a variety of outdoor subjects. All with keeping YOU informed, Sharing the knowledge and helping everyone be just a little bit better prepared before they head out into the Parks and Trails of Michigan and Canada.

MI.Born2So……if you have your own Blog, or you want to write about your Outdoor experiences and Share your knowledge with all of us, then drop me an email, and we will open up a place for you to be able to make posts here on the site. Contact Rob Golda.

Head over to the new Blog and see what it is all about. We are building as we go, so make suggestions or even write for the Blog itself. Just like Hiking Michigan the hiking group, this new Blog IS YOURS. It should represent YOU and your ideas. GO TO BE MICHIGAN OUTDOORS.



PLEASE HELP our Beautiful Michigan survive our own DNR

January 19, 2013

This is our last chance to speak up and tell our DNR what we feel about all these Linear BIKE Pathways they are spending millions of our PASSPORT dollars on instead of Real foot Trails, Infrastructure rebuilding of the aged Parks and fighting the biggest problem in Michigan, Invasive Species. Do not be fooled by their word terms.

It used to be that Trails where considered for Foot Travel. Hiking, Birding, geocaching, Hunting, etc, and Pathways where these linear Bike, oneway asphalt or crushed Limestone things that usually went nowhere. Do not be fooled while taking their Survey. They now use the term Trails to refer to all of their Bike Linear Pathway Plans. That is how desperate they have become at getting their ways and how manipulated they are by Bike Lobbyists, and Greenways Non Profit groups who all only care about their personal, private sector  salaries and power structures.

Please take their Survey, We have until January 25th. Please help Michigan Nature survive and not be battered down by these shortsighted, self full filling schemers who want nothing good for the major users of Michigan’s Parks and Waterways. Their own Surveys told them over 80% of Michigan people want Trails and Parks and improvements made there with our PASSPORT money. They then manipulated that into meaning the people wanted their Linear, Oneway BIKE Pathways to Nowhere. Either asphalt or crushed Limestone, six foot wide right of ways in many places. Does that sound like something You foot travelers want? Know that you are the majority User. They have to actually LIE, to get a different answer here.

Please take this DNR Survey. It is anonymous. Let them know their Plans are completely off the mark. Take a moment to read their actual Trails Plans. It will revolt you at just what they will do over the next 5 years if they are not stopped. PASSPORT fees have already been increased another dollar after less then 2 years in use. That’s because the DNR is spending millions on these Linear Bike Pathways, 11 million dollar ADVENTURE Centers in Detroit and other bad money management. Please help stop this and protect our Natural resources and heritage in our beautiful Michigan. PLEAS.,1607,7-153-39002_56382—,00.html

This is not a Political thing here. It is the people of Michigan who care about stopping Invasive Species from taking over every Park in the state and that includes the Lakes and Waterway. It is people who care about destroying the largest Great Blue heronry in Southeastern Michigan in the name of even more Linear, Asphalt BIKE Pathways. That was $300,000 dollars of our PASSPORT money donated by our DNR to make that happen. Dead Herons selected over not getting their Bike Pathway. This is from the state agency we have entrusted with the protection and health of our states ecosystems, Parks and Waterway. What are they thinking?


Mid Winter Warm-ups

January 12, 2013

By no means are we done with Winter. In fact it would be very harmful if we where done with snow and extended cold temperatures. Like I have mentioned in past posts, the Winter season is a valuable time of year here in Michigan. It allows for the replenishing of the underground water aquifers, with the eventual snow melts at the end of the season. The extended cold temperatures kill many insects and damaging diseases that would otherwise only grow stronger during the winter, rather the be controlled through an extended cold temperature season.


We have watched these last few winters as many diseases and insects have not had their normal die-backs during the winter months, due to the lack of snow and extended cold temperatures. These things can be devastating to so many different ecosystems in Michigan. This also helps the Invasive Species take an even stronger hold on our environments here.

Now the good stuff. 🙂 These occasional mid-winter quick warm-ups can be wonderful outdoor experiences. Many different critters will come out of either semi-hibernations or from me hold-up deep in a den or burrow, and do a bit of roaming for  some fresh food.

Since the critters and birds are moving a bit slower then normal, there are some excellent opportunities to see all types of wildlife. Yes……it can be a bit “Gushy” along the Trails during these warm-ups, but it is more then worth a few mud covered tracks.


Speaking of tracks…..keep your eyes open while exploring during one of the mid-winter warm0ups, for various animal tracks. The fresh mud can reveal some beautiful tracks, just as well as a fresh snow fall. You will also find yourself unbothered by many other outdoorsman during one of these thaws. Most people will shy away from the “Gushies” and possible mud conditions of a mid-winter thaw. But for those of us that enjoy having the forests to ourselves, and just our wildlife buddies, these are excellent times to explore the Trails.

Do not be afraid to bring along that Garbage bag so that you can just plop yourself down someplace, on the wet ground and just sit for a bit. It is not easy to be quite in Gushy conditions, even if you are a stealthy critter or Bird. Sit yourself down on that dry Garbage bag spot and listen and watch. Once you have blended into your surroundings, you will be very happy with the results. Birds chirping directly overhead, critters scurrying almost everywhere, and wildlife spotting you never knew existed where you sat.

Sometimes the worst weather in our human minds, can be the very best weather to find critters and wildlife, even in the most overused places. Like I have mentioned many times before……be aware of what you see and where you see it during these times of year. These Birds and animals frequent many of the same places during all the seasons, or at least use the animal “Highways” to get around through all seasons. While the foliage is down and one can see for greater distances, it is great to ID particular critter and Birds you spot now, so that when the forests are thick with leaves and ground cover during the summer months, you will have a good idea of what is prowling around the thick cover.


2nd Top Post of 2012

January 3, 2013

This post was another favorite for 2012. It is the study of a Bird Feather. Just like a human hair, the individual strands (hairs) are linked together with minuscule hooks to form a solid feather. Amazing stuff!

Recent discussions with Dr. Bob, and the excessive heat these days, has sparked me to re-study how Birds deal with this extreme heat of summer. Not having sweat glands, they use a number of techniques to cool themselves down. The term for what Birds do to cool-off is called Gular Fluttering. You can read more on this specific subject with Dr. Bob’s discussions on the Audubon Society Blog, at:

All this talk of Birds dealing with the extreme heat of summer, sparked me to redo a PDF file we had on the web site. The file was a study of the details of a Bird’s Feather. A nice close-up and examination of the make-up of an individual feather.

I have always been intrigued by Bird feathers. Their shapes, colors and delicate yet many uses. I have collected feathers since I was a young Scout, and never stopped for the rest of my life.

I hope you find the Bird Feather study interesting and get a better understanding on how a Bird uses it’s various feathers to fly, maneuver and keep warm & cool through the different seasons and temperatures.

You can download the PDF file study on BIRD FEATHERS, here:



Healthy Nature Preserve

December 28, 2012

The Pond pictured here is a good example of a healthy ecosystem, with much Biodiversity at one end of the Pond, and a Dead-zone at the other end of the Pond. The West side of the Pond area has “Loosestrife” and “Garlic Mustard” invading it’s waters and shoreline, as well as a non-native to Michigan, Swan.

Because of these invaders, not much else is taking place in and around these waters. On the right side of the Pond area we have a healthy, Biodiverse, interconnected ecosystem. Here you find all the various plants, animals and insects that all interact with one another to keep a healthy, thriving habitat working.

All of these plants, animals and Insects connect to one another through a natural and biodiverse environment. This balance can be very delicate, and upset by the mere removal of just a couple of the plants, animals or insects that are present there. Without any natural enemies, plants like the “Loosestrife” and ”Garlic Mustard” can overtake ALL of the natural plants in and around this Pond, and upset the balance of inter connectivity between all the living things there.

This can easily, completely destroy the natural environment. It all may still look pretty on the surface, but there is no Biodiversity and richness of life there anymore. A Mono-culture.

Taking good care of our Natural Resources…..controlling Invasive Species…..nurturing everything down to the smallest of insects, create an environment that can be enjoyed by simply EVERYONE no matter what type of outdoor or Recreational experience they may have in mind. EVERYONE. That’s a pretty big result from a sole focus.

A healthy Natural Resources based Ecosystem is a very Interconnected world. Insects rely on the grasses and trees to thrive. The Trees need clean water and sunlight to grow strong. The Birds need the Trees for food and protection. And on and on. All of these Interconnections are what produces the beautiful Overlooks, Wonderful waterways, Critter filled Trails, Etc. These things cannot be built or created by Man.

We certainly can help produce the environments that are clean, healthy and Invasive species free, so that all of these Natural Interconnections can thrive. But we should never believe we can actually create these Wonders on our own. This is why we need to protect and nurture ALL our Natural Resources here in beautiful Michigan.


See if you can find all the critters, plants, tree, birds and insects in the Park. Some are oversized for easy viewing, and others are lurking in the deep forest. We will be posting the totals and what is there in the Park, next week.




September 9, 2012

I know this post might not be so Outdoor related, but it is something that this group, Hiking Michigan has taught me over the last 14 years. It has been a very interesting time meeting thousands of people, working with all different types of individuals, all relating under their love and respect for the outdoors in some way.

For most of my life (mostly business) I would always say that you never really knew the true nature of a person until they where pushed into a corner, and had no other way out. That’s when their real personality and beliefs showed up. I would tell that observation to other people and they would grimiss. In a way agreeing with the observation, but like me, not being happy with the fact that this was the best way to see the real person inside someone.

These last 3 months, nearly dieing, the extensive and lonely hospital stays, the intense pain and all the things that no one would ever volunteer for, has also taught me some valuable and unpredictable lessons.

The biggest of those lessons was that people can show their true inner selves, without being pushed into a corner with no other way out. The kindness and consistent loving support I have relieved from just not family, but my Outdoors family too at Hiking Michigan has shown me many things.

Just getting back to Hikes now, and HM helped out a young Eagle Scout do a program of Invasive species removal to save a FEN out at Ortonville. I attended this work session/gathering along with many Scouts, Scout Leaders and a few HM members. One in particular was my inseparable trail buddy for the entire day. Now this has happened over the years, where even though I interact with everyone at a Hike, there might be one individual I spend most of my time with.

Well….as the day went on, the sun came out and he suggested we get out of the sun and take a break, which we did. Where ever we roamed in this vast FEN area, I seemed to never be out of sight of this person. Upon our return to the meeting Tent and some Scout supplied Pizza, I found that he had supplied a chair for me. The only folding chair there. All these little things, without direct mention, and with no direct pampering, turned out to be something very special.

I did not realize this until I was driving home from the gathering. This person had come to the Event to watch over me. He did it with respect and by not making me feel like the cripple I now sometimes feel like, still not having recouped completely from all this bad health and surgeries. These where the actions of a real friend.

He was not pushed into a corner or forced in any way to do the things he did all afternoon. He did them with great respect to me, allowing me to participate with the Event and not feel like I was not capable or singled out in front of all the people attending.

There are single acts of kindness. The friend who comes and picks you up with just a telephone call, when your car breaks down. The friend who helps you move. (and that’s a big one) 🙂  But the person who plans their entire afternoon around making sure my afternoon was a fun and full-filling one, without saying a word about it, was a friend that gave me something I thought could only be obtained when pushed into a corner and forced to reveal their true nature.

To this true friend I say THANK YOU. And that does not cover his actions. To all you wonderful Hiking Michigan people who have stood by your Group, continued to participate in Web discussions, sent me many Get Well emails and cards, and who just have been here CONSISTENTLY (and that is the big Key) I say Thank You for not only being my real friends, but for showing others the true nature of real people.

These kinds of consistent actions of integrity, kindness, sharing and hope, are the things all of you have shown the other members and what has been the glue with the love for the Natural world, in this Group. It is what has made us special and unique. It is why we are the largest Hiking Organization in Michigan. The second largest outdoor group in our state, second only to MUCC. It is why our interacting Blogs get 100-150 HITS per day, every day. It is why, even while we have taken this long break of over 3 months, we still have received over 500 new members in S.E.MI. and 200 new members for our new Hiking North/Central Group.

Thank You HM people for teaching me much about the outdoors with your sharing attitudes and showing me many things about human nature as well. Real Friends are hard to come by. Sure… can have 1,000 Facebook friends. But how many are Real? You all have blessed my life, expanded my brain and brightened my heart. Experiences I would never have had the opportunities to explore so often, without our Hikes and Outdoor activities as a Group.


Why are Natural Resources so IMPORTANT

July 14, 2012

No matter what you like to do in the outdoors. Hike, Hunt, Fish, Bird, Geocache, Kayak, etc. a healthy and quality Natural Resources is required. In fact….a quality Natural Resources system, produces a quality outdoor recreational experience.

So why is it that our own Department of Natural Resources, does not understand this? The DNR seems to be in the business of outdoor Recreation 101 and not watching after OUR Natural Resources, as they where instructed to do by the people of the state of Michigan.

This has now passed any political stand or a way in thinking about these things. OUR DNR is required to watch after our lands and waterways, which belong to all the people in this state. The recent reports of Asian Carp DNA being found in Lake Erie is just another failure on this agencies abilities to do the jobs required of them.

They are focused on spending our money…..the money we gave them in PASSPORT support, believing it would be used to repair a crumbling infrastructure and to also start the attack on the enormous Invasive species over-run of our state. Instead……our DNR is building Adventure Centers in downtown Detroit. leasing Belle Isle from the city of Detroit and purchasing land for more one-way, Linear Bike Trails to nowhere.

Why do these people not get this? What is it they do not understand? Does Ron Olson, the head of Parks & Recreation for our DNR, think we do not have to tend to our Natural Resources, and all he has to do is control our outdoor Recreational experiences? I do not remember asking Ron to do this. Who says he is even capable of doing this if we did ask him. And we are not.

Invasive species……the DNR has ONE staff member to handle this in 11 Parks in S.E.MI.  The rest of the work is done by Volunteers from the public. Go ahead and even try and contact that one Steward for the DNR, responsible for Invasive species. Good Luck. Yet the name of our Agency is the DNR…..the Department of Natural Resources. Ask yourself what is wrong with this picture. Sorry……the DNR did put their stamp of approval on an ice-cream they now sanction.

It is time for some HUGE changes at our DNR. Time for many to retire, some to be fired and others to be looked at to even see if they are capable of doing their real jobs. protecting our NATURAL RESOURCES in our state. I think there are many DNR personal that have forgotten who they work for and what their jobs are. Maybe removing our support for the PASSPORT system will wake up our employees.


How do you look at Life

May 25, 2012

So I have had the time recently to roam around my life and the things I have done and not done. Looking at what I have accomplished and failed at. While again sitting on a hillside overlooking a Pond surrounded by hardwoods & Pine trees, I realized there are no failures. If I have tried my very best at whatever it is I have attempted, then there is no actual failing at anything.

What is that failure based on. How others look at it, or how YOU look at it? Did you learn anything from your attempts? Then what was there to fail at? It seemed to me that much of our lives are based on how other perceive our actions. How could almost anyone understand each of our individual actions. They do not have all the facts, nor do they see all that we see on something WE are attempting to do.

So how could I be judged by anyone on something I have done my absolute very best at? Well…..I cannot. And anyone attempting to judge me on how they supposedly see my actions live in a false and shallow world themselves. How could they possibly know what I have attempted to accomplish or do with myself or life? So how could they possibly judge me then?

Does this all sound like gibberish? I hope it does not. We all need to know these things and understand that we live our lives with our best efforts and best attempts at doing what we feel is right and at the best level we can do them. For some this ends up being one thing, and for someone else, it is something else. But the important part is that we did our very best in the most honest ways.

So as I melted into the Pond below me, and became part of the whole thing, I came to realize that just being one of the Pine trees there is the best I could be. I wasn’t the biggest tree there, or the most beautiful tree. But I had done my best and I was contributing to this ecosystem in a positive way. And it didn’t matter if that was all that I was. It was important to the whole and I had done my best at it. What more could I have done? And who could possibly criticize me for it? Only a Fool would say that it was not enough or that they could be a better tree. All the trees there contributed to the system as a whole, so there was no such thing as a better tree. Everything else was just the silly human games we play to hold others down, hurt each other for no reason other then our own egos, or try to be better then someone else through false criticism.

The trees do not do these things. They work with one another in connection with the Pond, and cooperation with the grasses, flowers, birds and insects, to produce something very wonderful…..together. And this is the best it all can be.

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