2024 Snowshoe Hare Recap

The 3rd Annual Snowshoe Hare event took place at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge on January 27, 2024. For this year’s event the OAC team decided to change the format for the event from previous years. We focused on guided, educational snowshoe adventures, as opposed to a competition (e.g. a race). This change rounded out the Snowshoe Hare to be a complete day of learning and adventuring. All of our events have educational components associated with them, we want guests to leave the resort with more knowledge than they came with. The schedule of the day included a guided snowshoe adventure, a “History of Snowshoeing” presentation and snowshoe lacing demonstration from Iverson Snowshoe owners, Jim and Victoria Baker, and a “Snowshoe Hare” presentation by Michigan Tech ecologist, Tom Oliver. Additionally, a French influenced Rabbit Stew with homemade naan bread, was served throughout the day in the Little Cabin Cafe.

The menu of the day at the LCC and the special French influenced Rabbit Stew

This educational snowshoe adventure met at 9:30am in the Winter Outdoor Activity Center (OAC) and was led by the OAC Team and joined by Tom Oliver, the Director at the MTU Center for Science and Environmental Outreach. Tom has worked for 29 years as a wildlife ecologist and teacher with state and federal agencies, schools, and private businesses, in both the United States and internationally. Our intention was to try to make it to the top of the ridge that runs along Brockway Mountain and back to the Lodge in three hours. The weather was favorable for the adventure, it was a mild winter day with temperatures in the low 30’s. We started the hike across Hwy 41 utilizing part of the Explorer Snowshoe Route which is located in the Keweenaw Nature Sanctuary. We descended the route to the bottom of the valley where we crossed the hand crafted, wooden bridge over Garden Brook.

The Educational Snowshoe Adventure stops to discuss the fresh holes left by a pileated woodpecker.

This area was buzzing with signs of wildlife. We saw three different sets of tracks; a fisher, a bobcat and possibly a fox and fresh holes whacked into a dead tree by a pileated woodpecker. Seeing these tracks excited Tom and he generously shared some ecology information about each of the animals. After crossing Garden Brook we began the climb. We worked our way up towards the ridge following the Woopidy Woo Trail. Near the top we took the On the Edge Trail and popped out on an open area along the ridge. We took a break, had a snack and then began the descent. We short-cutted parts of the route in order to get back to the Lodge for the afternoon presentations.

The view from the top of the Brockway Mountain Ridge.

At 1:30pm Jim Baker of Iverson Snowshoes, led the presentation, History of Snowshoeing in the Banquet Room. Jim discussed the history of snowshoeing across North America, beginning with models developed by North American Indigenous people. He touched on the different styles of modern snowshoes that are available and talked about the snowshoe clubs that dotted the country from the 1840’s to the 1940’s.

Jim Baker of Inversion Snowshoes discusses Native American snowshoe styles.

Throughout the day Victoria Baker, also of Iverson Snowshoes, was doing a demonstration and answering questions of how they lace traditional snowshoes. This was interesting to watch because it showed the difficult technique it takes to hand make these types of snowshoes.

Victoria Baker of Iverson Snowshoes focuses on the weaving the neoprene on a set of snowshoes.

Then at 3:00pm Tom Oliver led an informative lecture on the snowshoe hare, its habitat, and lifecycle. Participants learned about the differences between hares and rabbits and the influencing factors leading to the drastic decline in hare populations across North America in recent years.

Tom Oliver discusses the habitat of the snowshoe hare.
This slide discusses the difference between the tracks of a snowshoe hare and a cottontail rabbit.

To close out the event at 8:30pm, Amy Oestreich and Chris Guibert led an adventurous group on a wilderness, moonlit snowshoe hike. These hikes are a chance for guests to venture into the Keweenaw Dark Sky Park by moonlight and stargaze without the disruption of light pollution and maybe even have the chance to spot some wildlife.

To learn more about the Snowshoe Hare event in general and to stay up-to-date on next year’s Snowshoe Hare, go to:

Last modified on February 19th, 2024 at 4:17 pm