Back by popular demand, Hartwick Pines State Park will once again offer its Critters in the Moonlight Halloween Walk on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 5 to 8:15 p.m. While this program is especially designed for families with young children, all who come out will enjoy walking along the Old Growth Trail lit with more than 200 hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns.

Guests are led along the trail by a “critter guide” and will encounter several costumed volunteers dressed as larger-than-life woodland critters. Guests will meet a beaver, raccoon, bobcat, gray wolf and many more animals. These animals will tell the group a little about themselves and dispel some of the common myths associated with “their kind.”

One tour around the trail takes about an hour. There’s also a short trail that takes about 20 minutes to walk. After the walk, guests can have a picture button made or buy a hot dog or hot chocolate from the Boy Scouts at the shelter building.

The Critters in the Moonlight event is held at Hartwick Pines’ picnic area and is made possible by the Friends of Hartwick Pines State Park. There is no admission fee for this event; however, all vehicles must have the Recreation Passport to enter the park.

Hartwick Pines State Park is at 4216 Ranger Road in Grayling, Mich. For more information about this or other events, please visit www.michigan.gov/hartwickpines, call (989) 348-2537 or email Pam Engel, engelp@michigan.gov; Craig Kasmer, kasmerc@michigan.gov; or Rob Burg, burgr@michigan.gov.

The Recreation Passport is an easy, affordable way for residents to enjoy and support outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan. By checking “YES” for the $10 Recreation Passport ($5 for motorcycles) when renewing a license plate through the Secretary of State (by mail, kiosk, online at www.expresssos.com or at branch offices), Michigan motorists get access to state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, non-motorized state trailhead parking and state boat launches. In addition, Recreation Passport holders can experience real savings at businesses and retailers that participate in the Passport Perks discount program. The Recreation Passport is valid until the next license plate renewal date. Nonresidents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) at any state park or recreation area or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore.

Learn more about this creative way of sustaining Michigan’s outdoor recreation and natural resources at www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport. For information on Passport Perks shopping discounts or how businesses and retailers can enroll in the program, visit www.michigan.gov/passportperks.

Logo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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