Traveler - Nice Ice Baby!

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parks and rec


A monthly e-newsletter to encourage “I Can!” program participants and other families to continue learning about the outdoors.

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January 2019

Park Highlight:  Hayes Lake State Park


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The icy cold weather that comes with January can be intimidating.  The key is to not only survive our winters but to also enjoy them by finding outdoor hobbies you like. In winter, Hayes Lake State Park near Roseau offers trails for skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. The park staff host candlelight snowshoe events, and provide hot chocolate and snacks near the campfire. During other seasons you will find excellent fishing, swimming and canoeing along with camping. Trails for hiking and horseback riding connect with the Beltrami Island State Forest. 


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The List: Parks by Candlelight


If candlelight events are not already an annual tradition for you, let this be the season where you get out and experience winter adventure in a whole new light!

Short, easy trails will be lit with lanterns or luminaries, and you can drop in any time during the events to go whatever distance is comfortable for you. Afterward, warm up with refreshments by a crackling fire.

Below is a sample of parks and trails hosting candlelight events this winter: 

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Find more candlelight events.

Game Time: Outdoors in Every Language


Encourage your family to love the outdoors by exploring a variety of activities and finding ones that you enjoy together!  

Below is an outdoor action word to share with young children to build literacy skills and to experience the joy of connecting with nature.

This month's outdoor action word is step!  Take a walk around your neighborhood and listen to the sounds as you step on different types of surfaces; snow, ice, sidewalk.  Count how many different sounds your steps make.

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An excerpt from “Let’s Play Outside! 50 Ways to Connect Kids with Nature,” a project of the 2014 Collaborative Leadership Fellows Program, Rochester, MN.


ice safety gear

Traveler Tip:  Ice Safety


Ice is never 100 percent safe. Take steps to minimize risk when recreating on frozen bodies of water.

  • Check with local experts and sources for current ice reports and to learn about any known hazardous areas.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • Wear a life jacket or float coat when you are on the ice (except when in a vehicle).
  • Always bring an ice safety kit with you on the ice: rope, ice picks, ice chisel or drill and tape measure.
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Get more tips on ice safety and how to survive a fall through the ice.

1930s tent camp

Discover:  Happy 100th Birthday!


The year 2019 marks a major milestone for two of our Minnesota state parks.  Sibley State Park near New London and Whitewater State Park near St. Charles will turn 100 years old!  A series of Centennial Anniversary events are scheduled and you are invited to help celebrate the past 100 years at these sites.  From special picnics to theater and live music, there will be a variety of fun events for the whole family.

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Search the on-line event calendar to find Centennial events.

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Meet the Field Staff


Get to know some of the field staff who take care of your Minnesota State Parks and Trails!

Meet Jess Althoff, an Area 3C Supervisor out of Rochester.  Jess helps oversee the planning and development of state trails in Goodhue, Wabasha, Winona, Olmsted, Houston and Fillmore counties.  She enjoys the huge diversity of work areas with which she is involved and the partnerships she gets to cultivate with user groups.

Her favorite spot in Area 3C is the northern half of the Goodhue Pioneer State Trail. It’s quiet, scenic, close to home and connects to miles of additional trail. It’s also a trail with a great Trail Association that is ambitious and fun to work with.

Jess enjoys golfing because of the challenge – mentally and physically, the several hours you get to spend in nature and because who doesn’t love chasing a little ball around a hundred acres?

Her favorite animal is her Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever – Echo.  Echo's high energy and drive keep Jess active.  

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Interested in working for DNR? Check out DNR internship postings!

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Ice Fishing Programs 


Don't let a little ice stop you from catching the perfect fish! Minnesota's annual Take a Kid Ice Fishing (TAKIF) Weekend is January 19 through 21.  During TAKIF, adults can ice fish without a fishing license if they are accompanied by a child age 15 or under.

Don't know how to ice fish?  No problem!  Check out one of these programs to learn ice fishing basics:

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Find more winter activities at Minnesota state parks and trails.

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Discover more winter activity ideas at Explore Minnesota!

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