MN Nature Activities: Jan 24–31

Waaauuu! Let’s get out there, Minnesotans!

*featured photo


Events free unless otherwise noted. (Spectating races is typically free.)
Note: A MN state park vehicle permit is required to attend most state park events. Permits can be purchased at the park office for $5/day or $25/annual.

Arrowhead Ultra 135 $$$
7 AM Race start Jan. 25 A serious winter race challenge and adventure by foot, ski or bicycle. Want to know just how serious? Check out the contract participants sign. The featured photo c John Bertram of this MN Nature posting is from the Arrowhead Ultra 135 event, see his entire album here. Lots of details for participants and info for spectators on the official website.

1.  Sign-in/mandatory gear check Sat Jan 23rd 3PM to 6PM or Sunday Jan 24th 9AM to 2PM, in I-Falls at Backus Community Center 900 5th St. International Falls. (same place as pre-race meeting previous years).  Volunteer meeting Sunday at 2:30.

2.  Mandatory Pre-race meeting International Falls, Sunday Jan 24th 4:00PM  at Backus Community Center. Free Italian Dinner (for racers/volunteers) at 5:15PM, nominal charge for friends/family. Volunteer meeting at 2:30 Sunday.

3.  Race start Monday, 7AM Jan 25th. Kerry Arena center of City of International Falls near Arrowhead/Blue Ox trailhead

International Falls (start: Kerry Arena center of City of International Falls near Arrowhead/Blue Ox trailhead)


8 AM–5 PM Hockey Superior International Junior Hockey League Showcase
See some great hockey, hosted by the Minnesota Iron Rangers! All five SIJHL teams competing. The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Cochrane Crunch (25-5-1-2) joins the fun. Click here for full story and schedule.
Hoyt Lakes and Virginia (Miners Memorial Building and Hoyt Lakes Arena)

01/26/16 Motorcyclists & DNR Coordination Meeting
3:30–5:30 The next Amateur Rider’s Motorcyclist Association (ARMCA) and the MN Department of Natural Resources coordination meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, January 26, 2016. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP to
MN DNR 500 Lafayette St Paul MN (meeting will be held at the DNR 6th Floor Conference Room)

Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area Planning Meeting
6–7:30 PM Quarterly meeting to discuss planning, development and operational issues. Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area Advisory Committee.
Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area Office, 307 3rd Street, Ironton, MN 56455



Fat Wednesday Fat Bike Races St Paul Winter Carnival
6–10 PM

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 parking at Jamaca and Jeffrey Aves.
Gateway State Trail


Capitol of Minnesota’s St Paul Winter Carnival
Thursday, Jan 28Sunday, Feb 7 Saint Paul Winter Carnival is free and open to the public throughout Winter Carnival.
– Ice sculptures are on display, sit in a Royal Throne made of ice, view the Ice Castle Sponsor Wall.
– Live entertainment on the Nature’s Fury Entertainment Stage at Rice Park, vendor booths and other activities.
– Decorated with beautiful lights and greenery.
– Enjoy a Summit beer or Cannon River wine at the ice bar.
Rice Park ( 109 4th Street W, Saint Paul, MN)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Rice Park has the events to prove it during the entire Winter Carnival.

01/28/16 St Paul Winter Carnival: Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade
6:00 pm; come early and enjoy hot chocolate and other treats (free!). More info. The Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade will officially kick off the first day of Carnival, beginning at 6 p.m. in downtown Saint Paul. Hot chocolate and other treats available at 5:30 p.m. The public is welcome to join festival organizers and ambassadors, along with neighbors, local business leaders and dignitaries on a cool winter walk from the Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce offices to Rice Park. Walkers, most with luminaries in hand to light the way, will be accompanied by hot air balloons which will help keep everyone warm!
Location start:  Securian Building/Chamber of Commerce lobby, 401 Robert Street

01/28/16 Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee Meeting
10–3 PM The AIS Advisory Committee was appointed by DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr in December 2012 to help the DNR maintain strong relationships with AIS stakeholders. Advice and recommendations from the 16-member committee, and four ex-officio members, is used to help guide the department’s activities. Committee members bring a range of personal and professional experience to the discussion about how to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals in our lakes, rivers, and wetlands. More Info contact Heidi Wolf at 651-259-5152.
Great River Regional Library, 1300 West St. Germain Street, St. Cloud, MN 56301

01/28/16 Snowshoe for Fun
1–2:30 PM Snowshoeing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors in winter–with or without trails! Come explore Lake Bemidji State Park at this special time of year. Snowshoe for Fun will meet every other Thursday, with each trip visiting a new area of the park and increasing in challenge. Come once or come all four times! Please call ahead to reserve snowshoes (modern or traditional; free of charge) or bring your own. Meet at the park office at 1 pm.
Trying for the 125 Miles by Bike, Boot or Boat Challenge? This event can help you add a little distance.
Lake Bemidji State Park


C Expos Gun Show
Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. 2-day show. No one admitted under age 18 without adult. Children 12 and under admitted free with paid adult. Pay Saturday and return Sunday for no additional charge (with hand stamp).
Hibbing Armory (2310 Brooklyn Drive, Hibbing, 55746)

Winter Tree I.D.
9 AM Join a naturalist in Sax-Zim Bog and learn how to identify trees without their leaves! Dress for the weather and be prepared for a short hike in the woods. Email for info.


Frozen Frolic
10 AM Registration begins; race start is 11 AM. Test your speed and skill in a time trial format racing a 10.5-mile loop through trees and snow. After, warm up at the trailhead for awards and door prizes. Divisions include men’s women’s, and U-17. Races alternate between Elm Creek and Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserves. Weekly competitors add their top three finishes for a chance at being The Frozen Frolic Champion. Studded tires approved. Helmets required. Sponsored by Maple Grove Cycling and Freewheel Bike. Registration. $12 preregistration , $15 day-of, $60 for all six races at both parks (call 763.559.6700)
Elm Creek Park Reserve

Frozen Frolic
Frozen Frolic

01/30/16 St Paul Winter Carnival: King Boreas Grande Day Parade
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm During the Grande Day Parade on the first Saturday of Winter Carnival, our newly crowned King Boreas will lead his Royal Family and their legions of friends. Come out and welcome them and enjoy the dozens of marching bands, floats and other festive folks as they wind down West Seventh Street beginning at the Smith High Bridge and ending at Rice Park. More info.
Parade Start: Smith Ave. and Grand Ave. (St Paul, MN)

01/30/16 Great Grains
noon–4 PM Stop in anytime. Grind grains, plant wheat, and bake a bite of whole grain goodness to taste. Explore the flavors and textures of ancient grains. Where in the world do people cultivate quinoa, chia, amaranth, and kamut? Discover how eating ancient grains is tasty and beneficial for your health.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (Learning Center; Free with gate admission)

01/30/16 Ice Fishing Frenzy
1–3 PM This program is designed around ice fishing basics. Have you always wanted to try going ice fishing? Or maybe you just want to walkout on a frozen lake. Either way, come out to the park and enjoy an afternoon on Mountain Lake. We will look at ice fishing equipment and techniques, while trying to catch a fish through the ice. We will be fishing outside, so dress for the weather! Our target species will be northern pike, sunfish, crappies, and perch. Please feel free to bring your own equipment and bait, as we will provide this, but have only limited quantities. Call Lake Carlos State Park at (320)852-7200 to register for this event. Important: MN residents do not need a fishing license to fish in the State Park. Those requiring a valid fishing license, please remember to have it during the program. Refer to the Fishing Regulations book for rules and regulations regarding licenses. More Info call (320) 239-2860.
Glacial Lakes State Park

01/30/16 Candlelight Ski and Snoweshoe
6–9 PM This popular family-friendly event provides an opportunity to ski, snowshoe or hike on trails illuminated by the warm glow of candles. Park and trail visitors can warm up around a fire and enjoy a hot drink in the warming house. People of all ages and abilities are welcome to enjoy the candlelit trails. The trail is 1 1/4 miles and suitable for beginner-level skiers and snowshoers. A Minnesota ski pass is required and can be purchased this evening. For more information on the trails, call 218.498.2124. Meet at the Regional Science Center’s interpretive center or at Buffalo River State Park’s warming house located in the park’s picnic grounds.
Buffalo River State Park

01/30/16 Pond Life Through the Ice
1–2 PM Do they migrate or hibernate? You see lots of aquatic insects during spring, summer, and fall but where are they in the winter? Dress warm and come learn how aquatic insects survive the cold winter when lakes are fro¬zen over. Program will be located at Snelling Lake next to the fishing pier. We will start at the Visitor Center.
Fort Snelling State Park

01/30/16 Candlelight Walk Along the St. Croix River
5–8 PM he Friend’s Group of William O’Brien State Park will be hosting a special candlelight walk along the beautiful St. Croix River. Start at the Visitor Center, learn about winter constellations and make a constellation chart to take along with you on your walk. Then follow the flickering LED lights as they lead you down the hill, and then along St. Croix River. Look for stars and listen for owls as you walk along this packed 2.5 mile trail. When you make it back up the hill, hot apple cider, and marshmallows for a marshmallow roast awaits you at the center. This special evening is brought to you by the Friend’s Group of William O’Brien State Park.
William O’Brien State Park

01/30/16 The Bog in Winter
10 AM Lake Bemidji’s bog attracts people in summer for its orchids and in fall for its colors, but what about winter? Ski or snowshoe out to this special part of the park to learn more about how it changes with the seasons. Be prepared to be out for about 2-1/2 hours, and bring a snack and water (roundtrip distance is about 2 miles). Snowshoes will be available free of charge. Meet at the park office. (We will hike if there’s not enough snow!)
Trying for the 125 Miles by Bike, Boot or Boat Challenge? This event can help you add a little distance.
Lake Bemidji State Park

01/30/16 Snowshoe 101
10 AM–11:30 AM Discover the quiet enjoyment of this low-impact sport. Begin in the Visitor Center Theater for a brief history and basic instructions. Then join the naturalist for a gentle hike to the CCC Camp looking for signs of wildlife and winter wonders. Bring your own snowshoes or borrow a pair from the park. There are a limited number of adult and children’s snowshoes, so please call the park office at 218-595-7100 to sign-up. We do need 6 inches of snow on the ground to snowshoe, if there is a lack of snow, a winter walk will occur.
Gooseberry Falls State Park

01/30/16 Wonders of Ice & Snow
1–2:30 PM Explore the icy wonders created by Lake Superior in the picnic flow area. Discover ice volcanoes, pancake ice and many more nature made ice formations. Take a walk along the Gooseberry River discovering wildlife tracks and signs. Ski poles/walking sticks and snowshoe/ice cleats are recommended. Meet at the Lakeview Shelter for this icy adventure. Park sticker is required for this program.
Gooseberry Falls State Park

01/30/16 Candlelight Ski & Snowshoe
5:30–8:30 PM Join us for a evening of cross country skiing and snowshoeing! Bring your own skis. A limited number of snowshoes will be available for rent at $6.00 for the evening. Begin at the Picnic Shelter.
Hayes Lake State Park

01/30/16 Prairie Seed Sowing in Restoration Field —Volunteer
10 AM–2 PM Come help sow seed collected at Grey Cloud Dunes SNA, onto old fields that are being restored to prairie. You’ll enjoy this spectacular site with prairie and savanna overlooking the Mississippi River while helping do good work to enhance it. This event will be led by Central Region SNA Coordinator, Larissa Mottl and Site Steward, Larry McCabe. No advance sign-up necessary. Please contact us if you have a large group. Bring water, lunch, and dress for working in the weather. Footwear appropriate for outdoor work/hiking is recommended. There are no maintained trails, public restrooms nor access to drinking water on this site.
Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

01/30/16 Girl Scout Winter Skills Sampler
Girl Scouts (Brownies through Cadettes), get ready for a winter adventure as you try skills such as snowshoeing, bird watching and feeding, or winter wildlife survival strategies. Bring a lunch to eat at the visitor center or hot cocoa and s’mores to enjoy over an outdoor campfire. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. See below for a description of each program option. One adult per five girls is required. Brownies, work towards the requirements of an Outdoor Adventurer Badge (not provided). Be sure to dress for the weather. Event will be cancelled if wind chill or actual temperature for January 30 is forecasted at or below -15 degrees the Thursday before the event.

Snowshoeing: Maximum of fifteen girls per session. Offered at 12, 1, 2, or 3 PM. Explore the trails on a set of snowshoes with the naturalist after a quick overview of how to use these nifty tools. Dress for the weather with winter boots and be prepared for a one-mile round trip hike.

Winter Bird Feeders: Maximum of fifteen girls per session. Offered at 12 or 1 PM. Learn to identify the many fine feathered friends that visit your bird feeders during the winter. Find out what seeds are best for what birds and which may draw in your favorites. Girls will also get a chance to make their own suet feeders to take home.

Winter Wildlife Survival: Maximum of fifteen girls per session. Offered at 2 or 3 PM. Girls work in small groups to build the perfect shelter for winter wildlife. Tools like digital thermometers and wind meters will help them select just the right spot and evaluate how warm a creature would stay inside. Dress for the weather, we will be both in and outside.

Please e-mail with the session or sessions, ages, and number of scouts you would like to sign up.
Wild River State Park

01/30/16 Pine Island Winter Fest
5–8 PM Enjoy activities in Pine Island throughout the entire day. Candle lit trails run from 5-8 p.m. beginning at the golf course and continuing onto the Douglas State Trail. Enjoy hiking, skiing, snowshoes, bonfires, and a meal. Sponsored by the non-profit Pine Island Image Committee.
Pine Island, Douglas State Trail

01/30/16 Take A Kid Snowshoeing
1–3 PM Take advantage of snowshoeing at Nerstrand Big Woods. Here’s how it works: An adult rents a pair of snowshoes and all kids under the age of 13 snowshoe for free! Kids can earn a free T-shirt by completing a scavenger hunt of photos while on snowshoes. Adult snowshoe rental is $6.
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park

0 1/30/16 St Paul Winter Carnival: MN United FC SnowBall Soccer Tournament
10:00 am5:00 pm


Snowshoeing for Beginners
1–2:30 PM Snowshoeing is a fun way to beat those winter blues! Learn the history of snowshoes, and then try on a pair during a guided snowshoe walk. Bring your own snowshoes or use a pair from the park. This program is now full and we have begun a waitlist for this program. Please call 612-725-2724 to be placed on the waitlist.
Fort Snelling State Park (Program will start inside the Visitor Center)

01/31/16 Take A Kid Snowshoeing
1–3 PM Take advantage of snowshoeing at Nerstrand Big Woods. Here’s how it works: An adult rents a pair of snowshoes and all kids under the age of 13 snowshoe for free! Kids can earn a free T-shirt by completing a scavenger hunt of photos while on snowshoes. Adult snowshoe rental is $6.
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park

01/31/16 Winter Hike & Snowshoe the Landscape Arboretum
Enjoy 16 miles of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails that meander along 1,000-plus acres of woodland, prairie, wetland, and open fields. When conditions are favorable, snowshoes are available to rent at the Information Desk in the Visitor Center for $6 per hour and $4 for each additional hour. Sorry, we do not rent cross-country ski equipment. Several trails. $6 to rent. More info. and trail conditions at the website.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum


Upcoming . . .

Whiteout Bike Race $$$

Adult Beginner Ski ($11)


Sign-ups for Summer Day Camps are starting at the Landscape Arboretum.

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