Unlocking winter wonderland: This upcoming season’s escapades throughout Isabella County

Under the bleak, gray permacloud of a Michigan winter, it can be difficult to imagine avenues for recreation or leisure. And yet, life goes on. Entertainment opportunities for Isabella County residents are just as available in winter as they were in the summer; sometimes all it requires is a little more research and a change in gear. As the saying goes—when life gives you snow, buy skis. 

Outdoor Recreation

Opportunities to get outside can be found in many of the same places as in the warmer months, although the activities available can be quite different. 

Deerfield Nature Park has trails that are groomed for cross country skiing, provided there is enough snow on the ground. Also found at the park is a sledding hill that is easily accessible for children. 

For those looking for a more unique experience, the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy has hundreds of acres of property that is open for public access, with the organization also hosting guided nighttime hikes throughout the winter. 

As for areas that offer a smoother, more accessible surface, the parks system in Mt. Pleasant is well-maintained in the winter, with Island Park featuring a paved loop along the Chippewa River.

Local Indoor Activities

While the lakes may be frozen over, and the rivers too cold to do more than stand and admire, the Soaring Eagle Waterpark is a way for community members to enjoy the water during winter. 

For a more low-key environment, the Broadway Theatre in downtown Mt. Pleasant hosts events throughout the winter, including a VHS night each month that features different movies. 

Another good spot for families is Veteran’s Memorial Library in Mt. Pleasant. The library offers a wide variety of programming and resources for people of all ages.

Indoor sports have always played a large role in the lives of Michigan residents, whether it be as a spectator or participant. Mt. Pleasant is in a unique position here, as community members can attend a number of Division One athletics games/meets on campus at Central Michigan University. Residents can also work on their own fitness and athletics skills at local facilities such as Morey Courts or the SAC on CMU’s campus. 

Grow and Expand

Winter has its way of offering more time for reflection, change, and altruism as busy schedules are slowed to some extent. One way to take advantage of this is for residents to travel to new places in Isabella County. Doing so can lead to the discovery of unique places like Silver Spoon Coffee House in Shepherd or Roz’s diner in Rosebush. Places like these are a large part of what makes Isabella County so unique; Isabella is far from Michigan’s most populated county, but nevertheless, there are still hidden gems to be discovered even after a lifetime of residence. 

In addition to exploring, spare time can also be used to volunteer and give back to the community at places like the Isabella County Restoration House and the Isabella Community Soup Kitchen. 
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Read more articles by Owen Howard.

Owen Howard is an Isabella County native with a deep appreciation for all it has to offer, in both people and places. He currently works as a biologist in the environmental department of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. He is an alumni of Central Michigan University, having received both a bachelor's and a master's degree. In his free time, Owen could be described as 'chronically outdoors.' Owen has a passion for telling stories and for listening to other people tell theirs. He loves getting the chance to allow people to share their passions and stories with a larger audience.