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Registration Has Begun For This Winter’s ‘Becoming An Outdoors Woman’ Program In The UP

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced today registration is open for this winter’s “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” weekend workshop, as well as several upcoming Beyond BOW events.

The weekend workshop is set for Feb. 23-25, 2024, in Marquette County.

This winter will mark the 23rd annual winter BOW gathering for women, 18 and older, who are seeking an opportunity to improve their outdoor skills in a relaxed, noncompetitive atmosphere.

The BOW program is sponsored by the DNR and offers instruction in two dozen different types of indoor and outdoor activities, including cross-country skiing, archery, winter camping and shelter building, ice fishing, winter biking, wilderness first aid, wood burning, snowshoe along with several new features, such as wild game butchering, and nature journaling.

Instructors provide basic and advanced teaching that is tailored to each participant’s individual ability. The program also includes special evening programs during the weekend.

BOW participants stay and take their classes at the Bay Cliff Health Camp, a universally accessible facility overlooking Lake Superior, which is situated about 30 miles north of Marquette, near Big Bay.

Participants will be housed in a dorm-style facility with amenities including a sauna and hiking trails with access to northern hardwood forests and Lake Superior.

The $300 registration fee includes all food and lodging, as well as most equipment and supplies, except as noted in the registration materials. Scholarships are also available on a limited basis.

In addition to the traditional winter weekend workshop, several smaller Beyond BOW events are upcoming including:

Introduction to snowshoe and snowshoe hike, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, 6 p.m. EST Marquette, Marquette County. We will start indoors with about an hour-long discussion about snowshoe equipment, materials, and sizing, how to dress and other topics. We will then head out for an approximately 1-mile snowshoe along the Carp River. Following the snowshoe hike, there will be an optional opportunity to socialize with the group back indoors where pizza and drinks will be available for purchase.

Harlow Lake Cabins and Snowshoe, Jan. 19-21, 2024, Marquette County. The Wetmore Landing, Little Presque Isle and Harlow Lake area offers 19 miles of hiking trails. This area boasts a Lake Superior shoreline trail that goes along Little Presque Isle Point, a loop along Harlow Lake, and a view from the top of Hogsback Mountain, which is one of the highest points in the Upper Peninsula. Additional trails lead you to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, Top of the World and Bareback Mountain. The North Country Trail also passes through this area.

In the evenings, enjoy the seclusion and quiet of rustic log cabins tucked away among the birch and pine woodlands of Harlow Lake. The one room log cabins can accommodate up to eight people, though we will only have 4 participants in each cabin to keep things comfortable. Participant cabins will be located on the Harlow Lake peninsula.

Moonlight Snowshoe Hike, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024, 5:30 p.m. EST, West Branch, Ogemaw CountyHave you always wanted to go snowshoeing in the moonlight? Well, here’s your chance! Participants will meet at the trailhead about 3 miles North of West Branch (must have a Recreation Passport or Michigan State Day Pass to park). You will have the opportunity to snowshoe between 1.5 and 4 miles. We will start with a 1-–2 -mile loop, bringing us back to the vehicle parking lot. Participants will have the option to stop here or continue with a different 2 -mile loop. If there is not enough snow to snowshoe, this will become a winter hike.

DIY Backcountry Meals, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2023, 5:30-7 p.m. EST, Marquette. There’s nothing wrong with classic backcountry freeze-dried meals but have you ever considered making your own meals from items at the grocery store? In this class, you can expect to enjoy at least six homemade backcountry meals using a variety of ingredients. Expect this to be a hands-on class and to go home with recipes to use in the future. You will be able to sample all meals and will leave full!

Class information, registration materials and scholarship applications, are available online to print at Michigan.gov/BOWPayment and registration materials should be sent to the address on the registration paperwork in Marquette.

Finally, we have some save the date information for weekend BOW events scheduled for later into 2024:

  • Summer weekend workshop, Bay Cliff Health Camp, Marquette County – May 31-June 2, 2024.
  • Fall weekend workshop, Camp Daggett, Charlevoix County – Oct. 25-27, 2024.

For more information on the winter BOW program, e-mail at DNRBOW@michigan.gov.

To keep up with the latest on BOW, sign-up for email notifications at Michigan.gov/BOW. You can also follow BOW on Facebook or Instagram.

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