Lab Land is 30 acres where we track. It offers many types of cover from open fields to hardwoods, pine woods, tall pines. There are areas covered in thick ferns. Some places are covered with lichen. There are dirt roads to cross and buildings to go between, around and through. A large part of the land is mixed with open spaces and clumps of pines or cherry. This allows the dogs to make choices between several options so a handler can learn to see and trust his/her dog’s decisions.
Here is a virtual tour of Lab Land in very early spring.
Lab land is very different from season to season so here are some photos showing the seasons when we track. The spring starts with open fields until the ferns emerge. There is a succession of wildflowers.
Summer brings warm weather so tracking camps are limited to mini camps where folks can work half days only. We work in the early morning and/or we go back into the woods where the temperatures are much cooler.
Fall brings incredible color, shorter days and the return of tracking camps. Peak color is usually around Columbus Day but this may vary by a week either way.
Tracking stops from Nov.15-Dec.1 each year because of hunting season (rifle). Lab Land is adjacent to the Pere Marquette State Forest so caution must be used. After hunting season, we can go back to playing and tracking if the snow is not too deep. It is a rare year when we only get small amounts of snow to allow for some winter tracking. It is very near Crystal Mountain (ski resort) so we can’t track in the winter as there is usually about 2 1/2 feet of snow on the ground though midwinter.