39° and Rain at 9:54am in Pine City

DNR and REI team up to promote snow sports on national Winter Trails Day

Friday, January 8th, 2010 at 5:42 am

Kids and adults new to snow sports are invited to discover the fun of snowshoeing, geocaching, and other winter activities from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at Fort Snelling State Park. This event, which brought more than 1,000 people to the park last year, will take place on Winter Trails Day, a national effort to increase participation in outdoor recreation.

Throughout the afternoon, experts from national outdoor retail co-op REI, Fort Snelling State Park, and local outdoor nonprofit organizations will demonstrate how much fun winter can be. Family friendly activities will include opportunities to:

* Try out snowshoes after a demonstration for beginners of all ages.
* Take naturalist-led hikes along scenic park trails.
* Learn how to use a GPS unit and go on a high-tech treasure hunt to find a hidden geocache.
* Sip hot cocoa around a big bonfire.

REI will also be giving away a new pair of snowshoes.

To help with planning future winter outings, information will be available on cold-weather camping, skijoring, dogsledding, and much more. Visitors can also pick up free copies of the winter Minnesota State Parks Programs & Special Events catalog, which lists more than 130 things to do between now and the end of March.

There is no charge to participate in any of the Winter Trails Day activities, which will take place in and around Picnic Shelter A, but a vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks. Those who don’t already have a permit can purchase one at REI stores in Bloomington, Roseville, or Maple Grove or at Fort Snelling State Park when they arrive. The cost is $5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round permit.

For more information about Winter Trails Day, call REI at 612-725-2389. For more information about the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 (TTY: 651-296-5484 or 1-800-657-3929) or go to www.mnstateparks.info.

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