By Rosemary Horvath
Wilson State Park and Budd Lake will be the scenic setting for the June 22 inaugural Middle ‘O Mitten Triathlon sponsored by Friends of Clare County Parks & Recreation and Jay’s Sporting Goods.
Parks director Don Kolander anticipates the event will become one of the major annual attractions for Clare County.
Organizer Tri To Finish has planned out the adult course that features swimming, biking and running competition. A youth course is also planned.
Visit the Tri To Finish website or Friends of Clare County Parks & Recreation website for more information and registration. Deadline is June 21.
Kolander said the race will begin and end at Wilson State Park and consist of Olympic and Sprint distance triathlons, sprint distance, duathlon and youth distance triathlon.
Local groups and businesses are helping to promote the event.
Tri To Finish is an organization that promotes professional run race events across the state.
Kolander is excited to have Harrison as one of the destinations and it’s one of many the Friends group has planned for the summer.
Sections of the Pere Marquette Rail-Trail across counties of Clare and Osceola will have the annual Wilderness Bike Ride on June 21 from 9 to 4 p.m. The Clare to Evart event is sponsored by Michigan Trails Greenway Alliance and the Friends group.
“We have a lot of things going on,” said Kolander.
To keep track of everything go to the Friends website or Facebook page.
Clare County Convention and Visitors Bureau recently issued its annual Vacation & Business Guide packed with details of all recreational activities and attractions offered around Clare County communities from Clare to Leota.
The colorful booklet lists lodging options, trail and lake maps, county and city maps, golf courses, reasons to visit Clare County, stores not to miss, all the parks and much more.
Visitor guides are distributed at highway visitor centers, real estate offices, Jay’s Sporting Goods, Clare County Building and some county offices, Kolander said.
“We update the information every year,” he added.
Most parks in Clare County are city or township owned. There are small privately owned campgrounds. The Friends group and the parks and rec commission strive for improving and maintaining recreational areas and educating the public as to what is available to them.
Kolander said the Friends group established a grant
program in 2013 to encourage future development or maintenance of existing parks and recreation facilities throughout the county.
For example, $500 was given to Little League to erect fencing. $1000 was given to the Together We Can nutritional food distribution program.
“This year our money will go to trail improvement,” Kolander said.
Application form for the grant program is available on the Friends website. Any person or group with a plan for park or recreational improvement may apply.