The Woods Fitness Park, a 20-Acre Outdoor Gym, Debuts in Benton Harbor

In a day and age where “social distancing” is increasingly essential to our health and wellness with coronavirus numbers spiking from coast to coast, a St. Joseph entrepreneur has crafted the ultimate solution with what is essentially a 20-acre outdoor gym.

Mike Petlick, who also owns and operates Evergreen Lawncare & Landscaping in Benton Harbor has carved out his new enterprise called The Woods Fitness Park, a 20-acre outdoor gym to help those who have been shut out of their indoor gym or fitness center since early March due to the pandemic and Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders that continue to preclude gyms and fitness centers from operating.

The Woods Fitness Park is anchored at 2400 Dewey Avenue in Benton Harbor in acreage between Meadowbrook and Townline Roads, a short distance away from the Napier Campus of Lake Michigan College.

The park is the area’s first outdoor workout facility, designed to promote exercise for all levels, from beginners to obstacle race elites, and with over 3 miles of trails, you can challenge yourself to more than 40 obstacles and workout stations on site.

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Petlick, who was born and raised in St. Joseph, went off to college at Auburn and returned to his roots, grew up playing sports and was a long distance runner in college. His life was heavily influenced when a friend introduced him to the concept of Spartan Races, involving tough obstacle course action, and he entered the Spartan event at Wrigley Field in Chicago. He was so moved by the experience that he returned home and immediately began developing his plan for The Woods Fitness Park, which recently opened for business in mid-June.

He calls his venture “an adult playground of fitness,” and strongly encourages those who have been shutout of physical workouts and training regimens by the governor’s closure of gyms and fitness centers to develop a new routine at The Woods Fitness Park.

Petlick’s new enterprise allows you to partake of a wide range of outdoor work from monkey bars to rope climbing, and especially his obstacle course elements reminiscent of the Spartan Race competitions. Elite Runner Spartan Racing in America is a huge community of dedicated athletes. When Mike took part in the Wrigley Field race, he was one of 4,000 people who participated.

The Woods Fitness Park offers all levels of fitness, and while the gyms are closed, you can use The Woods as your own 20 acre outdoor gym or as a personal boot camp of sorts. With that kind of acreage, Mike says, “It’s easy to social distance while exercising at The Woods.”

There are 3 models of trails and the park is mostly shaded with lots of trees.  You’ll find sit up stations, push up stations, pull up bars, rope climbs, you can run through mud, scale a wall, climb the monkey bars and more. While Mike calls it an adult playground for fitness, The Woods Fitness Park is also open to kids as well.

Mike is usually on site to help out. He strongly encourages for not only your physical health but your mental well being, “Break up the monotony. There’s something different every day.”

The Woods Fitness Park will begin to offer classes in the near future, but in the meantime, you alone or you and your friends and teammates are invited to check it out. Day passes are just $20, with a discount to just $15 for Berrien County residents, veterans, seniors, and students. A day pass is $10 for those under the age of 16 who must be accompanied by an adult, and for those who prefer to just exercise with a walk on the trails of the 20 acres site, the fee is just $5. Monthly memberships are also available for consistent users. You will find The Woods Fitness Park open from sun up to sun down 7-days a week.

Learn more online and find lots of photos and maps of the park at this link:

The phone number for the park is 269 876 2483.