MN Nature Activities Feb 1–7

—————02/02/16 —————

02/02/16 Mississippi Blufflands State Trail Planning Advisory Committee #1
6–7:30 PM The Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) will meet several times during development of a master plan for the Mississippi Blufflands State Trail. The PAC will meet several times to provide input, help evaluate alternative courses of action, and review draft components of the master plan. PAC meetings are open the public and meeting summaries will be posted online.
Ignite Building, Community Room, 419 Bush Street, Red Wing, MN 55066


—————02/03/16 —————

02/03/16 Wednesday Trail Walks
1–2:30 PM Get outside and discover whatever natural happenings we can see along the trail. 651-231-6968. Meet at the trail head in Stillwater.
Brown’s Creek State Trail

02/03/16 Elk Management Plan Public Meeting
6:30–8:30 PM The MN DNR will hold an information meeting in Lancaster on Feb. 3rd, 6:30-8:30pm, at the Lancaster School (401 Central Ave, Lancaster, MN) to present and discuss a summary of the public comments received on the DNR’s draft Strategic Management Plan for Elk for 2016-2010. DNR will also discuss landowner participation in the upcoming elk collaring effort in mid-February.
Lancaster School in Lancaster, MN

02/03/16 Commissioner’s Advisory Committee on Natural Heritage Meeting
10:30–3 PM The Commissioner’s Advisory Committee on Natural Heritage is appointed by Commissioner Tom Landwehr to advise the Department of Natural Resources and its Division of Ecological and Water Resources on programs and issues related to sustaining the state’s natural heritage and biological diversity. Minnesota’s natural heritage consists of its native prairies, forests, and wetlands and the native plants and animals that live here. The Committee is a citizen voice for protecting high quality natural resources and integrating conservation of these resources.
MN DNR Building 500 Lafayette RD St. Paul, MN


—————02/04/16 —————

02/04/16 – 02/07/16 Dog Mushing! Women’s Winter Adventure $$$
Learn to run your own small team of sled dogs through miles and miles of beautiful trails in the remote wilderness of northern Minnesota. Step-by-step instruction is provided and there is an atmosphere of encouragement, support and team work. Visit for details. Limit to 4 participants. Course dates and times: February 4-7, 2016. Cost: $895 Registration: For questions or to register contact Linda at or 218-370-0283.
Grand Marais/Hovland

02/04/16 Lil’ Park PEEPS – Slumbering Bears (Ages 2–5, with adult)
10:30–11:30 AM This program series is a preschool environmental education program designed for ages 2 – 5 years. Each month we’ll explore a different topic through engaging songs, stories, hands on activities and outdoor exploration. Programs start indoors in our heated building. For some programs we may spend part of the time outdoors exploring. Wear appropriate clothing for staying warm and dry. In case of severe weather we will substitute indoor activities for any of the planned outdoor portion. Any specialized equipment and supplies needed for the program will be provided free of charge.
Jay Cooke State Park (River Inn Interpretation Center)


—————02/05/16 —————

02/05/16 View the Night Sky 5-Planet Alignment!
4 AM, Free admission in your own back yard. Five planets parade across the dawn sky early in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late Feb. Read more about the event.
Public Telescope Viewings

02/05/16 Winter Raptor Field Trip
8 AM–Noon Join a naturalist in Sax-Zim Bog as we search for northern shrikes, rough-legged hawks and northern hawk owls. Meet at the Welcome Center by 8:00 and plan on scouring the bog until noon. Please RSVP to Dress for the weather! Cost is $20 for non-members and free to members of Friends of Sax-Zim Bog.
Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center

Lights Over Sagamore
6–11 PM Members of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew will bring cyclists out to the Sagamore Unit to enjoy the sweet trails of the Sagamore Unit. Ride groups will be formed as riders arrive. This event is open to all and is free of charge. All that is needed to join is to fill out a waiver, either online as you register for other Whiteout Events or in person before the ride. Note: Tires with widths of 3.8” and greater, helmet and light required
Sagamore Unit Parking Lot

02/05/16 – 02/06/16 The 45NRTH Whiteout Fat Bike Race</strong> $$$
Considered among the best trail systems in the world, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), has named the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails a Ride Center, an elite status shared by only 26 other trail systems in the world. The Whiteout is unique in Great Lakes Fat Bike Series because the race route is a single “great loop” that is majority singletrack. The 45NRTH Whiteout has 3 different lengths, depending on your mood: 30k, 20k and 10k.
Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails (Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, near Crosby, MN)



—————02/06/16 —————

02/06/16 Bison Snowshoe Hike
9–11 AM On this hike the Minneopa Area Naturalist will share some of the history of bison including how the number of these animals dropped from millions to around 400. We will also look at how the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is playing a role in the conservation of the largest mammal in North America. Bison have been re-established at Minneopa State Park as part of the Minnesota Bison Conservation effort. We will take a hike around the bison range to see how these animals thrive in the cold, wintery landscape of Minnesota.
Minneopa State Park

02/06/16 Winter Encounters Snowshoe Hike
1–2:30 PM Join us on these snowshoe hikes to discover the park in winter. After some “how to snowshoe” basics, we’ll head out on the trail to see what we encounter in the woods or along the river. Child and adult snowshoes are available. Registration:Program attendance is limited. Registration is required. Call the park office at 218-384-4610 x. 227.
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center)

02/06/16 Afton Candlelight Walk and Snowshoe
5–8 PM Trails lit by candles are beautiful and almost magical. Join us for this annual event. For more information and location call 651-231-6968. Trying for the 125 Miles by Bike, Boot or Boat Challenge? This event can help you add a little distance.
Afton State Park

02/06/16 Snowshoe Saturdays
10–Noon Join us each Saturday morning throughout the month of February for outdoor exploration on snowshoes. We’ll visit the forest, streamside and meadow to look for signs of wildlife and to explore the winter world with our senses. Young and old are invited to join us. Bring your own snowshoes or use the park’s. Trying for the 125 Miles by Bike, Boot or Boat Challenge? These walks can help you add a little distance.
Whitewater State Park

02/06/16 Attack of the Tracks Mystery
Noon–2 PM Put together the clues by snowshoe, sled and animal tracking to solve the Sibley mystery! Drop in anytime between 12:00 and 2:00 pm to get started! Bring your sleds and snowshoes if you have them!
Sibley State Park (Meet in the Interpretive Center)

02/06/16 Winter Camping 101—No bugs! No poisonous plants! Lots of fun!
Join the a few experienced winter campers for a one-day introduction to winter camping. We will build a traditional quinzhee, an insulated snowcave, for sleeping. Also covered will be topics such as cooking outdoors in the snow, tricks for staying dry and warm in the winter, and we will discuss and try out some methods of transporting gear through the snow. This one-day workshop will cover everything you need to know about camping in the winter. Participants who CHOOSE to do so will be able to sleep in the constructed quinzhees and try out the skills they have just learned. Come for just a day of winter fun and learning, or make a weekend out of it. You choose. Pre-registration is required. Call 218 353.8809 or email Anyone interested in spending the night in a quinzhee should contact the park naturalist for some tips about sleeping bags and related gear.
Tettegouche State Park

02/06/16 Cross-country Ski Lesson and Trail Tour
1–4 PM Learn how to glide, pole, turn and handle hills – all the basic skills you will need to enjoy traditional cross-country skiing. After the basic lessons, join the ski instructors and the park naturalist for a guided ski tour on the park’s woodland trails. Bring your own skis or rent some at the park office before meeting at the interpretive center. Registration is required and is limited to the first 25 people. To register, call 320-532-3269 and leave your name, phone number and number of people attending.
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

02/06/16 Kids Winter Wonderland Program – Snowflakes!
10–11 AM Hey kids! Just like you, there are no two of you or snowflakes alike! Let’s learn about these cool frozen drops of water and then make a snowflake to take home! The Registration deadline is Friday, February 5th at 3pm, so please call the park office at 651-433-0500 to reserve your spot! See you there!
William O’Brien State Park

02/06/16 Snowshoe Along the St. Croix
1–2:30 PM Join the Naturalist for a leisurely walk along the St. Croix River on snowshoes. Designed for ages 8 and up; we’ll explore a different topic each time on this 1-mile trek. Registration required by calling 651-583-2125 x 227. Program and snowshoe use is free – limited to 30 people. Cancelled if wind chill is below -15 or snow depth is inadequate.
Wild River State Park

02/06/16 Snowshoe 101
1–2:30 PM Discover the quiet enjoyment of this low-impact sport. Begin in the Trail Center for a brief history and basic instructions. Then join the naturalist for a gentle hike looking for signs of wildlife and winter wonders. Bring your own or rent a pair from the park. We do need 6 inches of snow on the ground to snowshoe, if there is a lack of snow, a winter walk will occur.
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

02/06/16 Candlelight Event
6–8:30 PM Create a unique park memory by discovering Split Rock Lighthouse State Park by candlelight. Snowshoe or hike trails lit by candlelight under a starry sky. Beginner and intermediate trails available. Warm up by the fire and enjoy a hot drink. Trying for the 125 Miles by Bike, Boot or Boat Challenge? This event can help you add a little distance. Vehicle permits are required to enter the state park. Permits are available at the Park Office, $5 for a daily permit or $25 for a 12-month permit. If you are interested in volunteering with set-up or lighting of candles please call the park at (218) 595-7625.
IMPORTANT: This event may be canceled or changed at the last minute, due to poor weather or wind conditions on the day of the event. Please check the Split Rock Lighthouse webpage or call the park for more information.
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

02/06/16 Candlelight Event
5:30–8:30 PM The annual Candlelight Event will be held Saturday, February 6, 2016 at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Join fellow winter enthusiasts to listen for the barred owl and other winter night sounds along two miles of flat lighted trails with shorter loops suitable for all age/ability levels.
Young families are encouraged to come at twilight – just as its getting dark; bring a sled to pull youngsters on designated walking trails. Stop to get warm at an outdoor campfire to roast marshmallows or inside the Visitor Center around the wood stove with hot cider and cookies. The event is co-sponsored by the Friends of Big Woods State Park and is free and open to the public. A vehicle permit is required to enter the park.
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park

02/06/16 Snowshoe Along the Creek
1–3 PM Grab your snowshoes or use a pair of ours and come see the park in the winter. We will hike towards Horse Pasture Slough to see if the creek is open, where you might get a glimpse of trumpeter swans or maybe some otters, ducks, and geese. Join the Naturalist for this winter adventure. Trying for the 125 Miles by Bike, Boot or Boat Challenge? This event can help you add a little distance. This snowshoe hike weather dependent, so please check with the park office by phone or on the webpage under “visitor alerts” for information on changes regarding this program.
Glendalough State Park

02/06/16 Candlelight Ski on the Root River State Trail
5–8:30 PM Join us for our 24th annual Candlelight Ski and chili, soup and sandwich feed. Feel free to walk or ski the 3/4 mile of groomed Root River Trail beautifully lined with candles. A blazing bonfire at each end of the trail will keep all fingers and toes toasty warm. Ski rentals are available at Cedar Valley Resort in Whalan 507-467-9000.
Root River State Trail, Whalan Town Hall

02/06/16 Take A Kid Ice Fishing Clinic
Noon–3 PM Kids! Come make a jiggle stick and then go reel in a big fish! Meet at the Visitor Center to make your stick, which you can take home. Registration required by calling 218-754-2200 no later than January 29, 2016. Bring a parent or adult with you!
Lake Bronson State Park

02/06/16 – 02/07/16 Snowmobile Trail Center Open House
9–4 PM Come and enjoy Minnesota’s snowmobile trails in the four corners of the state during the month of February! Four state parks, one each weekend of the month, will be hosting a warming house that will celebrate our diverse trail system. Stop in for refreshments and take a “selfie” photo that will capture you as you explore our winter. It’s a great way to kick off the year and celebrate the Minnesota state parks and trails 125th anniversary!
Sibley State Park

02/06/16 Orienteering
1 pm Event hosted by the City of Lakes Loppet Foundation, supported by MNOC. Registration is available at the City of Lakes Loppet website.
Lake Calhoun

02/06/16 Beginner Ice Fishing for Families (Ages 6+) $$$
Noon–2 PM Try your luck at ice fishing, a favorite Minnesota past time. Learn about equipment and basic ice and cold weather safety. Cost: $8/person; Registration: Register at
French Regional Park, Plymouth

02/06/16 Beginner Ice Fishing for Families (Ages 6+) $$$
10:30–12:30 Try your luck at ice fishing, a favorite Minnesota past time. Learn about equipment and basic ice and cold weather safety. Cost: $8/person; Registration: Register at
Cedar Lake Farm Regional Park, New Prague

02/06/16 Family Classic Cross-Country Skiing (Ages 6+) $$$
Noon–1:30 PM A fun lesson for kids and adults together. Learn the basics of putting on equipment, falling down/getting up, diagonal stride and stopping. Cost: $15/person; $22 ages 6-12 with ski rental; $26 ages 13+ with ski rental. Registration: Register at
Hyland Lake Park Reserve, Bloomington

02/06/16 Bird Language
9 AM –1 PM Join us as we gather on the slopes of the Minnesota River Valley to explore what the birds are telling us about our surroundings. We will split the time between the classroom and outdoors. Bring a notebook, pencils, and something to sit on outdoors. To register, visit: *
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Classroom A)

02/06/16 Planet Earth Filmfest
1:30 PM–1:30 PM Episodes 11 & 12: Ocean Deep and Saving Species High definition footage, fascinating creatures, and dramatic narration by Richard Attenborough create one of the most exciting portraits of our planet.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)

02/06/16–02/07/16 Laskiainen Finnish Sliding Festival
Fun-seekers converge on Palo’s Loon Lake Community Center (near Aurora) the first weekend of February for food, games and sliding! Free admission with plenty of goodies to purchase. Info. 218-229-2813
Loon Lake Community Center, (3816 County St Aid Highway 100, Aurora, 55705)



—————02/07/16 —————

02/07/16 Fishing Derby
7 AM–2 PM It’s time for the annual fishing derby, supported by the Lake Bronson Lions Club. Come as a contestant or a spectator and see what the lake has to offer for walleye, northern pike and perch. Register at the Victor Johnson Visitor Center for the derby, beginning at 7 a.m.
Lake Bronson State Park

02/07/16 Women’s Snowshoeing
1–3 PM If you can walk, you can snowshoe! Join us to learn about our long history of winter transportation and then be prepared to strap on a pair of snowshoes and hit the trails! Registration required. Call 612-725.2724 to register.
Fort Snelling State Park

02/07/16 Snowshoeing for Beginners
1–3 PM Burn a few extra calories and learn about an ancient mode of transportation. Equipment provided and registration required. Dress for the weather, wear sturdy winter boots. Register with
Fort Snelling State Park (meet at the Visitor Center)

02/07/16 The Fat Tire Loppet $$$
noon on Sunday – after the skiers have passed through the park. Bikers will start at Wirth Park, then bike the entire trail system to the Loppet Village in Uptown, skipping only a short golf course section. Can I use any bike? No. Because the Loppet trail is a ski trail first, and fat tire bikes do less “damage” to the trails, only truly fat tire bikes are allowed. Fat tire bikes are defined as bikes with 4” tires or more and less than 10 psi tire pressure.
Wirth Park (Minneapolis)


Upcoming . . .

January 9th is National Winter Trails Day


2016 Winter Trails Day events:

Snowshoe XC Skiing



Winter 4Play, 1/9/16
For Snelling State Park, 101 Snelling Lake Road
St. Paul
, MN 55111

Minnesota’s four seasons offer plenty of opportunities 4Play. Join us Jan. 9 when we’ll heat up winter in a way only MSP can. Try a new winter activity for the first time or stick with a trusty favorite that works for you – there’s no wrong way to do it. We’ll provide the gear – all that’s required is you, your friends and an open mind.

Snowshoe XC Skiing



Giants Ridge Ski Area, 1/9/16
6325 Wynne Creek Drive
, MN 55708
(218) 865-8002
If you are new to winter sports, snowshoe and cross country are easy to learn and fun for all ages making them perfect winter activities for families and groups, and a great way to get some exercise!

Snowshoe XC Skiing



Golden Eagle Lodge Nordic Center, 1/9/16
468 Clearwater Road
Grand Marais
, MN 55604
(800) 346-2203
Free skiing from 12 noon to 4pm.  Free “Learn to ski” lessons with complete ski rental and cabin stay. Free snowshoeing (rental snowshoes available for all sizes) and Free ice skating all day with some skates available for free use.
Snowshoe XC Skiing



MSUM Regional Science Center, 1/30/16
598 164th St S
, MN 56547
(701) 388-1883
Join the Dakota Prairie Chapter of the North Country Trail Association and the MSUM Regional Science Center as they host a Learn to Snowshoe event at the MSUM Regional Science Center.

XC Skiing



Spirit Mountain Nordic Center, 1/16/16
9535 West Skyline Parkway
, MN 55810
Celebrate Winter Trails in Duluth with free skiing at Spirit Mountain Nordic Ski Center.  We will be offering free adult lessons and rental equiptment at two times during the day (must sign up for lesson time).  Bonfire, hotdogs, hot chocolate, and sled dogs make for a great time, bring the whole family and get out and enjoy Winter.Lesson times are 10AM and 1PM.  Please sign up on-line at  Lessons are limited to 25 people per session.


Detroit Mountain Recreation Area, 2/6/16
29409 170 Street
Detroit Lakes
, MN 56501
(701) 388-1883
We will start off talking about snowshoeing & backcountry skiing inside the yurt and then head out onto the trails using free snowshoes provided by Detroit Mountain Recreation Area and Altai Hok skis.  Limited supplies on hand – first come, first served.  Bring warm clothes.  Event will be held in all weather conditions.  No RSVP required. 

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