DNR Announces Candlelight State Park Trail Events
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 The Mankato Gazette

DNR Announces Candlelight State Park Trail Events

December 14, 2015
Candlelight Trail Photo by DNR
Candlelight Trail Photo by DNR
Every year, candlelight events at Minnesota state parks and trails encourage new people to get outdoors and warm up to winter. The events feature trails lit up at night with candles, lanterns and other luminaries.

Depending on the location of the event and the amount of snow cover, visitors may hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski along the lighted trails, then enjoy roasting marshmallows or sipping cocoa around a crackling bonfire.

Thirty-five candlelight events are scheduled at Minnesota state parks and trails this winter, starting New Year’s Eve and continuing through the end of February, according to the Department of Natural Resources. The first few events will take place:

4-8 p.m. Dec. 31 at Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul.
6-8 p.m. Dec. 31 at Lake Carlos State Park in Alexandria.
5-8 p.m. Jan. 1 on the Luce Line State Trail in Plymouth (park at the Vicksburg trailhead).
For the complete schedule — including dates, times and other details — visit www.mndnr.gov/candlelight.

“There’s just nothing quite like being out for an evening walk with your family or friends on a candle-lit trail, under twinkling stars and a full moon,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails. “As anyone who’s ever been to a candlelight event at a Minnesota state park or trail knows, it’s an unforgettable experience.”

Families can rent or check out equipment at some parks (rental cost is typically $6/person/day for snowshoes or $10/person/day for cross-country skis, boots and poles). The DNR advises calling in advance to confirm availability and to reserve equipment.

For additional ideas on what to do at Minnesota state parks and trails this winter, pick up a copy of the new winter Programs and Events brochure at the nearest state park, or request one from the DNR Information Center (info.dnr@state.mn.us, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367). Online resources include the “Winter Activities Guide” page at www.mndnr.gov/winterguide and the calendar of events at www.mndnr.gov/parks.

The candlelight events themselves are free, but a vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks ($5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round permit). Those who don’t already have a vehicle permit (www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/permit.html) can purchase one at the park on the night of the event.

Skiers age 16 and older also need the Great Minnesota Ski Pass to participate in the candle-lit ski events. The ski pass ($6/one-day pass, $20/single-season pass, and $55/three-season pass) allows access to hundreds of miles of trails in state parks, state forests, city parks and other public lands throughout Minnesota (visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/skiing/skipass/list.html for a complete list and map).

Note that events may be changed or canceled due to weather. For more information, visit www.mndnr.gov, email info.dnr@state.mn.us or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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