Merrill School Forest Family Fun Day is this Saturday
TINA L. SCOTT
Merrill Area Public Schools (MAPS) and the Friends of the Merrill School Forest will host their annual winter Family Fun Day at the Merrill School Forest this Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Merrill School Forest, located 10 miles north of Merrill at N4740 State Hwy. 107, is a 764-acre property comprised of forest, prairie, and wetland habitats which includes more than 10 miles of maintained logging trails that double as hiking and cross-country ski trails.
The five-hour Family Fun Day event will include outdoor activities and experiences families can try out and enjoy absolutely free, with free equipment rentals for the event and free snacks and lunch, as well.
Outdoor activities include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, and human foosball, and afterward, roasting a marshmallow or two by the campfire to warm up.
From exploring the outdoor historic logging museum and the Wisconsin Logging History Museum to watching the live outdoor historic logging demonstration with Steve Lee and his horses at 11:00 a.m., both children and parents will enjoy learning more about the early beginnings of the logging industry that created Merrill.
At 1:00 p.m., Christian Cold, a Wildlife Technician/Educator with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Bureau of Wildlife Management, will be in the lodge, incorporating live animals into his presentation, “Wildlife Ecology and Management in Wisconsin.”
Families can also tour the Animal Museum and the Cordwood Education Center and enjoy lunch and snacks in the main lodge from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
All activities are subject to change depending on the weather; check the Merrill School Forest Facebook page for updates.
Parking is limited; however, additional parking is available across the highway at New Wood County Park.
The Merrill School Forest exists to provide MAPS students with environmental education and focuses on educating students about how to achieve and maintain the dynamic balance between the quality of life and the quality of the environment. Time spent at the Merrill School Forest incorporates environmental education into all the other school subjects and direct hands-on experiences. Students are challenged physically and mentally, learn problem solving, develop critical thinking skills, and develop a love and appreciation for Wisconsin’s great outdoors.
The majority of the Merrill School Forest acreage was gifted to MAPS by William Evjue, an 1899 Merrill graduate whose father was a lumber scaler in Merrill. The school forest has a 20-year forest maintenance plan, which includes controlled logging, with the assistance and guidance of local DNR foresters. The money generated directly benefits the long-term goals of the Merrill School Forest and, in the past, was used to purchase skis and snowshoes, purchase or develop curriculum, and for other student-driven learning opportunities.