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5 Key Attributes of a Thriving Business Community

By choosing Kalamazoo, you offer an extension to your work environment by providing access to nearby outdoor activities, encouraging employees to adopt healthy lifestyles. Creating a healthy work environment is how a business becomes a good place to work, reducing turnover and absenteeism while attracting top talent. Kalamazoo’s downtown is a great place to implement wellness programs to promote health prevention, including walking programs, bicycling, and active work breaks.
 
Studies show healthier employees are more productive employees. Across Southwest Michigan, employees are taking advantage of many options to cultivate a healthy lifestyle. Flexfab’s Vice President of HR in Hastings, Bill Rohr states “If you give people healthy options, choices and resources, they will move in that direction.” For that reason, locating your business in Kalamazoo, a gateway to a healthy lifestyle, will undoubtedly have a positive impact on your bottom line.
 
Find the path to a healthy lifestyle with these nearby offerings.

Take advantage of the 64 public parks in Kalamazoo or the 14 public parks of Portage, both with year-round recreation. Stay active all winter long enjoying tobogganing, skating, and tubing at Echo Valley, then spring forward to camping, boating, fishing, biking, disc golf and more at any of the local listings below.
 
Cold Brook Park • Echo Valley Winter Sports Park • Markin Glen Park • Prairie View Park • River Oaks Park • Scotts Mill Park


There are a growing number of trails offering different variations of courses and scenery for biking, hiking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing, just to name a few. Learn more about the local trails listed below.
 
Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, the newest to Kalamazoo County as of 2008, is a paved, multipurpose 12-foot wide surface running 17 miles for non-motorized transportation and great recreational use. The trail is planned to reach 35 miles in the future and is currently connected to the Kal-Haven Trail.
 
Kal-Haven Trail, once a railroad track bed, is now a 35-mile stretch from downtown Kalamazoo to Lake Michigan’s shoreline of South Haven.
 
Portage Creek Bicentennial Trail, located in Portage, Michigan, is a 7.7-mile long, non-motorized trail that connects multiple city parks together, including Portage Creek Bicentennial Park, Celery Flats, South Westnedge Park, West Lake Nature Preserve, and Schrier Park.
 
Bishop’s Bog Preserve • Kalamazoo Nature Center • Kellogg Forest • Schrier Park • West Lake Nature Preserve


To the west, you’ll find Lake Michigan, to the east is Gull Lake, and throughout the southwest of Michigan, you have over 80 public access lakes to choose from, all of which accommodate a diversity of water sports. Others may offer dunes, lighthouses, and miles of silver-sand beaches.
 
Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast is showcased as No. 1 on Top 10 US Travel Destinations for 2014 by Lonely Planet, described as a mere 300 miles of “seemingly endless beaches of sugar-white dunes, wineries, antiquing, U-pick orchards and berry farms, cider houses, Hemingway haunts – you can even go surfing.”
 
Visit Michigan’s Gold Coast at any of its accessible ports: Warren Dunes, Silver Beach in St. Joe, and North Beach in South Haven.


Plan a trip to Gull Meadow Farms for their award winning apple cider and donuts inside the apple barn and bakery or take a wagon ride into the U-pick apple orchard. And later, explore dozens of activities in Pumpkin Lane with the kids, test your aim in Apple Blasters, and dash through the Corn Maze – day or night.
 
Verhage Fruit Farm and Cider Mill offers weekend hayrides, U-pick apple orchards, country store souvenirs, and even zip lining.
 
In the Fall, visit Gene the Pumpkin Man for outdoor pumpkin picking. Just look for the ‘land of orange’ on M-43 Highway West and take a walk through the large selection of pumpkins outside, then stop into the orange barn for fresh winter squash, Indian corn, gourds, and honey.
 


Southwest Michigan is a haven for golfers, offering more than two-dozen courses within an hour of downtown Kalamazoo!
 
Eastern Hills Golf Club • Kalamazoo Country Club • Red Arrow Golf Course • Ridgeview Golf Course • Moors Golf Club • Prairies Course • Thornapple Creek Golf Club
 
Got cabin fever in the winter? Head out to Bittersweet or Timber Ridge for a variety of open runs for skiers at any level or check out Millennium Park’s outdoor ice skating rink in Portage.
 
Rather watch than play? For the NASCAR junkies, check out Kalamazoo Speedway between March and mid-October or US-131 Motor Sports Park for drag racing. For other sports enthusiasts, check out the professional Kalamazoo Outlaws football, Kalamazoo Growlers baseball, or Kalamazoo Wings hockey, or any of Kalamazoo’s collegiate and amateur sporting events year-round, including the Killamazoo Derby Darlins. Kalamazoo is also an annual host for the USTA boys national championship, regional soccer championships, and big league softball world series.
 
 
The access to a plethora of recreational options encourages employees to live a healthier lifestyle, resulting in a healthier work ethic. Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan create a supportive culture around recreational activities, which leads to more energetic, focused, and positive minds outside and in the workplace.