State Parks in Winter
I recently received the North Dakota Parks and Recreation’s fall/winter newsletter “Discover.” The cover story was about what the state parks have to offer winter visitors and how little use our state parks receive this time of year. When temperatures drop and the big white blanket covers the ground, too many of us spend too much time indoors.
Summer is highly over-rated, and winter gets a bad rap. Winter actually provides fun and interesting ways to observe a little “Natural North Dakota.” With a little extra attention to dressing properly, we can pursue outdoor activities safely and comfortably. So perhaps we should try and make a point of doing a little more recreating outdoors and utilizing our parks during winter.
And as you would expect, many of our state parks are quite scenic places, and the winter snowscapes can be quite impressive. Some of the parks offer lodging, and all of them provide an interesting place to snowshoe, hike, or cross country ski, as well as other activities. You can check out the parks offerings online at www.parkrec.nd.gov.
I’m partial to cross country skiing and many state parks as well as other natural areas are good places to enjoy this winter activity. I suspect many of you have a set of cross country skis tucked away in the garage.
For me, a great joy of cross country skiing is observing the plants and animals, and the serenity of the winter landscape. Because skiing is relatively quiet, you can often get quite close to wildlife. Over the course of most of my skiing outings I manage to see some deer, porcupines, and lots of songbirds such as chickadees, nuthatches, and waxwings. The sight of an occasional moose makes the trip especially memorable.
Consider visiting one of our state parks while the “winter show” is still on. If you don’t cross country ski, then strap on some snowshoes, or just go for a walk. If a visit to a state park is not in your plans, find another place to observe a little our natural winter beauty. You’ll find something interesting!
Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Minot State University-Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.
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