Make Tracks on Winter Break

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December 2019

Lake Superior Water Trail Sunset - Travis Novitsky

Sunset on Lake Superior. COPYRIGHT: Travis Novitsky

Make Tracks on Winter Break


This winter break, check out the Minnesota State Parks and Trails Winter Activities Guide for outdoor ideas and tips to help you plan unforgettable experiences. Don't forget to pack a thermos of hot cocoa! 

We recommend a visit to Lake Superior this time of year to witness an incredible spectacle as the waves break against the shore and water freezes on tree branches.  Explore the landscape by snowshoe or cross country skis and look for wildlife tracks in the fresh snow. 

Wherever your winter break hikes take you, we would like to hear your stories and see your pictures. 

Happy Trails!

naturalist and child snowshoeing

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Lake Superior State Water Trail

Lake Superior Water Trail - Travis Novitsky

The lake's 32,000 square mile surface area stretches across the border between Canada and the U.S. COPYRIGHT: Travis Novitsky

Lake Superior has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake on our planet, containing 10% of all the fresh water on earth. 

The Grand Marais to Pigeon River portion of the water trail covers approximately 42 miles of Lake Superior's Shoreline in eastern Cook County. This section of the water trail contains some of the most picturesque cobble and sand beaches along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Take a virtual tour.

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The faces and stories of our visitors and staff.

Travis Novitsky

Photographer and Grand Portage State Park Supervisor

Travis Novitsky on his bike

Overlooking Little John Lake at the end of the Arrowhead Trail in Grand Portage State Forest

Hometown: Grand Portage, MN
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Photography… followed closely by mountain biking. I love getting out and riding the many county and forest gravel roads that we have in northeast Minnesota!
Claim to Fame: Night Sky Photography. I’ve been photographing the night sky, primarily the Milky Way and Aurora Borealis, for over 20 years. 
Fuel for the Trail: On my 6-hour bike rides I bring a sandwich wrap, a couple of Clif bars and 3 water bottles (two filled with water and one filled with Gatorade.) 

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First Day Hikes

Snowshoeing Nerstrand 2

... or snowshoe adventures!

Colder weather got you down? Bundle up and get outside, even if it’s just for 15 or 20 minutes! Research shows that exposure to natural light and physical activity in the fresh air is critically important to our health and well-being in the winter.

Grab your boots, skis, or ice fishing pole and head out for a much needed mood booster during our darker months. Start the New Year with a First Day Hike at a Minnesota state park near you. 

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Gift Guide (Part 2)

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Thinking about your gift list this holiday season? We have the gift guide for the nature lovers in your life—and maybe, you can indulge yourself!

  1. Gift Subscription to Minnesota Conservation VolunteerSmall enough to fit in a daypack but bursting with compelling stories and amazing photos, Minnesota Conservation Volunteer is the perfect gift for nature lovers. The bi-monthly magazine is dedicated to Minnesota’s wild places and creatures, with deeply reported features on everything from outdoor recreation to climate change. Give a gift that’ll last year-round.

  2. Loyalty Club Memberships: What better way to get started with those New Year's Resolutions than with loyalty club kits? Collect stamps with the Passport Club or find the password on the Hiking Club trails. There are rewards to boot! 

The November Trailblazer has part 1 of gift guide and other unique gift ideas.

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Water is a constant presence for Travis Novitsky, state park supervisor and member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Full story.


Minnesota Conservation Volunteer is a print magazine dedicated to Minnesota’s wild places and creatures. For more stories, visit or subscribe.






MCV Nov-Dec 2019 Cover
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Events this Month

Visit our web page for a complete list of events throughout the state.


Dec. 1, Fort Snelling State Park: The Coming of Winter

Dec. 12, Gooseberry Falls State Park:  Winter Wandering

Dec. 14, Afton State Park:  Animal Tracks and Signs

Dec. 21, Lake Bemidji State Park:  Winter Solstice Celebration

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Find an activity and mark your calendar for some time outdoors this month!