WRITER | LISA BECKER CAMPBELL
PHOTOS | CITY FOREST PARK
Mid-sized Midland is Home to Super-sized City Forest Park!
Charming Midland is home to over 80 parks, and City Forest Park may be considered the favorite, speculates Marcie Post, Recreation Manager at the City of Midland Parks and Recreation.
In wintertime, the 520-acre recreation area is home to Michigan’s only snow-packed toboggan runs. Riders delight in swooshing over 525 feet between towers that anchor two iced runs. Another unique amenity is an oversized fire pit that is open to the public. Crackling fires are made more enchanting in light of the pit’s origin in the fall of 2015 as a cooperative effort between Parks and Recreation Staff and a local Eagle Scout.
Next door is a one-of-a-kind chalet, offering snacks, hot cocoa, and a respite from the cold. “The Chalet is perfect for watching the kiddos on the sled hill in a cozy environment,” states Post.
As the largest of all the parks in Midland, City Forest Park also offers ice skating, sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, in addition to tobogganing.
The snow-covered forest provides 11 kilometers of scenic, groomed trails that are picture perfect for cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Trails range from beginner to advanced levels.
The sled hill welcomes tubes and foam and plastic sleds. In the interest of safety for everyone, toboggans, steel runner sleds, and snowboards are not permitted. The slope is groomed daily, and the exhilarating fun continues under lights until 10 p.m. When conditions are right, the Department will make snow at the hill.
There is no charge to enter the park at any time. Toboggans, skates, sleds, and snowshoes are available for rent at the City Forest Chalet during hours of operation.
The City of Midland Parks and Recreation Department offers unique sporting events and programs year-round. In the winter at City Forest Park, children are invited to “Night at the North Pole” in the City Forest Chalet. They enjoy a festive evening from 6-8 p.m., filled with a pizza party, crafts, cookie decorating, and reindeer games!
In January, the 44th annual Community Snow Sculpture Contest returns for its second year at the City Forest Park. The snow sculpture contest is not open to the public — teams are made up of students from local schools — but viewing the final products glistening amid the snow-covered trees is a true wintertime delight and open to all!
Those who love the Midland Parks will not want to miss another beloved cornerstone of nature in Midland: the Chippewa Nature Center. The Center is another terrific trek for outdoor adventures such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, with over 1,200 acres of woodlands and wetlands and over 15 miles of trails.