Winter Walk and other upcoming events at Michigan's Waterloo State Rec Area

Snow may still be on the ground, but spring is in the air at the Waterloo State Recreation Area. During weekends in March, join naturalists from the Waterloo Natural History Association to learn about nature's early signs of spring, and at the end of March, learn about animals native to other countries.

The programs include:

Is Winter Almost Over?
On Saturday, March 5, take a walk with a naturalist from 2 to 3:30 p.m. to look for signs that the end of winter is near. A trip to the bog is planned (if conditions permit) to see what it's like this time of year. After the walk, enjoy a hot cider drink provided by the Waterloo Natural History Association. This event is free.

Maple Sugar Festival
It's time for tapping maple trees. On Sunday, March 13, from noon to 4 p.m., learn about the maple sugar process by watching demonstrations on everything from collecting the sap to the evaporation process. A film will show visitors the old-time methods used to make maple syrup. Maple products will also be available for purchase. There is no cost to attend this event.

Skins, Scat and Skulls
From 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, Naturalist and educator Dave Szczygiel will bring his large collection of Michigan animal skins and skulls, as well as other animal specimens to this hands-on program. Learn how various creatures use their specialized body parts for survival and how to recognize animal signs in the wild. Following the program there will be an optional outdoor walk to look for evidence of animals living around the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center, located within the recreation area. Advance registration is requested. Cost is $2 per person, or $5 per family.

Conservancy Creatures
Steve Marsh of the Creature Conservancy in Lodi Township will show off several residents of his non-profit exotic animal shelter from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 26. Marsh will bring a bouncy kangaroo, a loud laughing kookaburra, a venomous Gila monster and a non-stinky skunk. See these remarkable creatures up close and learn all about them. Advance registration is requested. Cost is $2 per person, or $5 per family.

Waterloo Recreation Area is located at 16345 McClure Rd. in Chelsea. For more information about these events, the park, accessibility, to pre-register, or persons needing accommodations to attend these events, contact the park supervisor at 734-475-8307 (TTY/TDD711 Michigan Relay Center for the hearing impaired), or visit For a list of events taking place at Michigan state parks, recreation areas and boating facilities in 2011, visit the Get Outdoor Calendar at

With spring in the air and camping season right around the corner, don't forget to make your camping reservations on-line at, or by calling the central reservation system at 1-800-447-2757.

A Recreation Passport is required for all vehicles entering the park. The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan's outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.

Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking "Yes" on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit or call 517-241-7275.

Non-resident motor vehicles must still display a valid Non-Resident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site, which can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is committed to the conservation, protection, management, and accessible use and enjoyment of the state's environment, natural resources, and related economic interests for current and future generations. Learn more at