Walk Midland

The City of Midland invites you to “Come get fit for free,” with the Walk Midland program. For the current walking season, the program began the first Monday in June. Walk Midland encourages, community members to walk on various routes throughout Midland County. 

City of Midland Assistant Director of Public Services Marcie Post says that “Walk Midland started originally as a site for the Statewide ‘Walk Michigan’ program, formerly sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield.” About twelve years ago, Walk Midland became its own program. Early years of the program led Midlanders down the trails of Stratford Woods, and the Rail Trail starting at the Tridge.  Over the years, new walking paths and opportunities have been added: City Forest, Chippewa Nature Center, MyMichigan Health, East End, and new in 2023, Northwood University.

Walk Midland registration at Northwood University
Participants have increased in numbers from roughly 500 individuals to over 1,400. “There's the health and wellness piece to Walk Midland, but I’ve seen friendships created, and communities created through this program, it's another piece of glue for our community to meet each other and experience our beautiful trails,” says Post. 
The Landenbergers
Bryce, Anna, and Ben Landenberger have been participating in the Walk Midland Program for more than 10 years. Already a walking family, the Landenberger were encouraged and invited to Walk Midland by some of their neighbors. Bryce says that he has a 10,000 steps goal each day and Walk Midland helps to reach those goals and “offers us opportunities to do different routes than we normally do.” By offering multiple routes throughout the week, Ben says that it “keeps us consistent with our plan to walk.” In previous years of the program, participants have been offered T-shirts as prizes and a grand prize of a trip to Mackinac Island, the Landenbergers have won multiple shirts and Anna has even won the grand prize trip! When asked what they like the most about Walk Midland, Anna says, “I like walking in the woods!” 

Walking has many benefits which include counteracting weight gain, easing joint pain, and improving heart health. Whatever your reason or goal to walk might be, Walk Midland has an opportunity for you, six days a week, at different starting times, at eight different locations. 

Cathy Devendorf hosts three of the Walk Midland sites. She says, “Walk Midland is great for people who don’t normally exercise, walking is a great beginning exercise. I’ve seen many participants walking at different sites, and have watched friendships develop over the years.” 
Registration at the Averill Preserve by Little Forks
Each Walk Midland location is approximately two miles in length. A two mile walk should take approximately 45 minutes. Participants will complete a brief registration form when arriving at the start of each walk. A suggested Tip: if you plan to attend multiple walks, pick up a few registration forms and fill them out ahead of the walk or  and bring along an address label sticker. After most of the participants have returned from the walk, a winner is drawn each time to receive a gift card/certificate to a local Midland eatery that might feature; coffee, ice cream, or pizza 

After the last walk of the season on August 9th at Chippewa Nature Center, a grand prize drawing will take place from everyone who has participated throughout the summer. The more walks you attend, the more chances you have to win the grand prize of a Midland Staycation gift basket. 
Ashley & Bill Garchow
The Garchow Family, Ashley, Bill and Liam are new to the Walk Midland program this year, but have already attended multiple sites. “Our goal was just to get back into walking,” says Ashley, “We walked a lot during the pandemic and missed it! So when we learned about Walk Midland, we knew this was our opportunity to get out walking again.” Bill adds that “Walk Midland has given us the chance to see parts of Midland that we’ve never been to, like Northwood University. The property is great and we’ve never experienced that until now.” 

“I love Walk Midland because not only is it easy and accessible for most folks, it's a great way to engage with others in our community. At Northwood we love to have community members on campus and to show them what we have to offer, I highly suggest taking some time to check out one of the walking sites,” says Laura Rhodes, Northwood University Director of Annual Giving. 

The walk locations offer a variety of paved and unpaved paths, each site is sponsored and supported by a variety of local organizations which include Midland Parks and Recreation, MyMichigan Health, Chippewa Nature Center, Greater Midland Corporate Wellness, Little Forks Conservancy, and Northwood University.
 Flyer promoting Walk Midland
“We love being a site for Walk Midland,” says Elan Lipschitz, Little Forks Conservancy’s Executive Director, “We are thrilled to be part of Walk Midland which brings new visitors to our nature preserve, Averill Preserve, along the Tittabawassee River. It’s so fun being able to see visitors of all ages participate in this great program. We are so grateful to be one of the many organizations giving opportunities to walk in our community.” 

For more information, go to the Walk Midland website or call 989-837-6930.

Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Abby Keeley-Scherzer.

Abby Keeley-Scherzer is a Mid-Michigan native, proudly raising her two daughters in Midland, with her husband, Steve. Her degrees are in business administration, cosmetology management, and sociology. Among other great qualities, Abby is an Army veteran,  pageant queen, substitute teacher, and community volunteer.