This box was reported "missing" 8/13/06 and Replaced with further instructions on 8/15/06. Replaced 5/3/09. Reported "needs attention" 10/09, Box in place but without contents - will investigate soon.... 10/20/09-box repaired. Please, please, PLEASE!!! Be discreet and rehide well! I THINK it's in a good place, off the beaten path, but somehow non-'boxers apparently keep finding it!!
Also, there have been some changes along the trails since 2005, mostly that work is being done in the forest and it looks like they are going to move the "big tree". The clues are still good and there is one new sign that helps you get back to the parking lot.
Russ Forest County Park is a National Landmark, 737 acres of virgin black walnut and white oak trees. Owned and Administered by Michigan State University, which uses the forest as a research station for hardwood forest management.
Free admission, plenty of parking, picnic areas, playground, pit toilets. (I've always found them clean and stocked with t.p.) Trails are wide and well groomed, sandy dirt, popular for horseback riding - watch out for horse apples!! :) 60-90 minute hike.
DIRECTIONS: From I-94, Exit 60, M-40 South towards Lawton.
South on M-40, approx. 13 miles, until it comes to a T. Turn right onto Marcellus Highway, 8 miles west to park entrance on left.
From M-51 in Dowagiac, 8 miles East from intersection of Front St. & Prarie Ronde. Clues begin at the 2nd entrance to the park when coming from this direction.
CLUES: Begin at The Big Tree. Just to your left is the trailhead for trails 1,2, and 3. The path ahead is long and straight, 'til at last you reach a T. Left is right, then Right is right, follow trail #3. Up ahead on the right is a place to rest, when you get up, go right again. At the fork in the trail, look up to the right, not really a clue, just a cool sight. Follow the path along the fence, but don't turn with it. Follow the trail as it curves to the right. Just ahead on your left is another bench, then another really big tree, continuing on, keep following #3. Left is right at the fork in the road. Note more storm damage along this leg of your tour. A tornado blew through this area not long ago. At the Y, left is right again, bid farewell to trail #3. As you continue on, you will pass by an open field of wildflowers. (This is now planted with rows of evergreens) A bit further ahead is another bench to rest, continue forward following trail #1.
Keep following #1, up ahead there's a bridge, one last resting spot, our favorite, time for a cool drink and check out the creek. Then over the bridge, about 23 paces further, keep looking right, there's kind of a ridge,a berm, made from what's left of an uprooted tree. As soon as you see it, turn right into the woods. Look ahead now for a tree where true love was proclaimed in '92. Maybe Lloyd or Floyd + ??????? Just behind that, another downed tree. And just behind that you won't find Newton Woods Letterbox anymore. Take 9 paces (18 steps) further into the wood. You'll be standing next to a large tree on your left. Look right to see an even larger tree that has fallen. The huge stump looks shredded. The new box is inside the stump. Please, re-hide well...it seems they may be working in this area... After stamping, keep following trail #1,make a right turn and you will soon reach the picnic/playground area. Bear right past the playground, across another bridge and you will be back to the parking lot.