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Discover winter fun at Fort Snelling State Park

Outdoors experts and enthusiasts will be on hand to promote winter fun during Winter Trails Day at Fort Snelling State Park on Saturday, Jan. 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Park visitors will have an opportunity to try a variety of winter activities, with equipment and instruction provided.

Guided nature hikes will take place every half hour, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Adults and kids also can try fat biking, tracking and archery. Between activities, visitors can enjoy hot cocoa around a crackling bonfire. Activities will be set up near the beach area. Sign-language interpreters will be on hand to help make the day’s activities more accessible to those with hearing disabilities. Stop by the registration tent for more information.

“Winter is more fun when you find an activity you can enjoy alone or with others,” said Kelli Bruns, park manager at Fort Snelling State Park.

She said although there won’t likely be enough snow at Fort Snelling State Park to offer snowshoeing and cross-country skiing lessons during Winter Trails Day, visitors can rent equipment and learn how to use it at many Minnesota state parks and recreation areas.

For a list of the parks and recreation areas that rent skis and snowshoes, and weekly updates on statewide snow depth and trail conditions, visit the Winter Activities Guide on the DNR’s website.

Use of fat bikes and other equipment will be free, but a vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks and recreation areas ($7 for a one-day permit or $35 for a year-round permit).

Winter Trails Day is made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division, REI, Minneapolis Parks Connection, Northern Star Scouting, the Jeffers Foundation, the Loppet Foundation, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and others.

Save time, get vehicle permit in advance

Although permits are available at the park, people attending Winter Trails Day can avoid waiting in line by getting their permit in advance. Visit mndnr.gov/reservations, log in (or create an account), click on “entry permit,” select a duration of “one-day” ($7) or “year-round” ($35), and continue as directed. Registrants will receive an email with a permit that can be printed and displayed in their vehicle during their visit.

For more information, call the park at 612-725-2724 or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).